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Full text of "Golden bells in convent towers; the story of Father Samuel and Saint Clara, 1854-1904"

Golden Bells in Convent 
Towers 




OUR LADY OF THE ROSARY 
St. Dominic and St. Catherine 



J. M. J. D. 

Golden Bells in Convent 

Towers 

The Story of Father Samuel 
and Saint Clara 

1854-1904 




LAKESIDE PRESS, CHICAGO 
R. R. DONNELLEY & SONS COMPANY 

1904 



/ 





;j5ci%<^v<J^...*.-W^ 



M ^^^^ f'^ ><V^ v<26.,**^^W 



DEDICATED 

TO THE 

HONOR OF OUR VENERATED FOUNDER AND OUR 
BELOVED SUPERIORS 



3lmpnmatur. 

Arr!|bial|op of Uliluiaukfr. 




St. Clara's " Convent Tower" 



'Ye swelling hills and spacious plains! 
Besprent from shore to shore with steeple towers, 
And spires whose 'silent finger points to heaven. ' " 



PREFACE 

The first chapters of Father Mazzuchelli's Life Story, those 
recounting its incidents up to the time of his departure from 
Sinsinawa, are taken from his Memoirs. The succeeding chap- 
ters contain information gathered from note-books and docu- 
ments preserved in the archives of St. Clara Convent. 

To keep within the bounds of Hmited space, the compiler of 
this work has been forced to omit much interesting matter, but 
such as appears, either in Father Samuel's Story or that of St. 
Clara's Community, bears the stamp of truth and every state- 
ment can be authenticated. 

" It is not what people say of me, but what I am, that 
counts," was the utterance of one of America's noblemen, under 
the stress of adverse public opinion irrationally expressed. 

We may say of him whose biography is here given, it is 
what he was that counts, and hence we have made it our earnest 
aim and effort to modify even our natural and lawful enthu- 
siasm, to exaggerate no event, to magnify no ability or virtue, 
but to portray the man of God as he really was, in so far as 
his words and deeds revealed him. 

In the midst of his lonely labors among the Indians, of his 
pleasanter activities among the people of the Dubuque diocese, 
of his responsible duties as president of a college, the thoughtful 
reader will behold him displaying the sturdy greatness of the 
true man, the holy greatness of the true priest. 

In his fidelity to the simple duties of parish priest in the 
little town of Benton, and in his unselfish devotedness to the 
Dominican Community he had instituted, the sympathetic 
reader will discover the nobility and tenderness of the true 
pastor of souls, and the high-mindedness of the true religious 
founder. 

In whatever aspect any chapter of this book may present 
him, or in whatever light it may cause the reader to look upon 



8 PREFACE 

him, Father Samuel Mazzuchelli will be recognizable as a 
most interesting, admirable and lovable personality. 

As for the brief history of the Dominican Community at 
Sinsinawa, which is here given, its most interesting parts must 
be read between the lines. Many a thrilling incident, many a 
weary struggle, many bitter trials and rigorous hardships, have 
not been mentioned, because cold print distorts such life- 
pictures and gives them a false perspective. And yet, it is 
just those parts of religious history that will be found inscribed 
on eternity's great record by an angel's hand, and that will be 
read by the Eternal Father through the crimson haze of the 
Precious Blood. 

S. C. B. 

St. Clara Convent, 

Sinsinawa Mound, Wisconsin, 

March 19, 1904. Feast of St. Joseph. 




Golden Bells in Convent Towers 



INTRODUCTION 

THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE TITLE 

Since that dread hour when his intercourse with God in the 
Garden of Paradise ceased, and he lost his power of perfect 
expression, man has striven to multiply and to improve his 
methods of communication with his fellow-beings. Nature's 
mightiest forces have become the slaves of his impelling desire 
to convey his ideas and express his emotions to another, speed- 
ily and effectively. 

It is man's craving for sympathy that creates the wish that 
what he feels shall be as readily and as impressively expressed 
as what he thinks. Language serves to conceal, rather than to 
express his thoughts, and fails altogether to manifest his 
stronger and deeper emotions. 

Genius meets the difficulty in part by using other means of 
expression in place of language. The artist makes his emo- 
tional appeals to humanity through the medium of the canvas, 
the colors, and the brush, as the poet does by means of the 



lo INTRODUCTION 

pen, while the musician accomplishes his purpose with the 
instrument which responds to his touch. 

Of the three, the last is the most effective, for there is no 
emotion that music cannot excite, and none to which it cannot 
give, very nearly, an adequate expression. Hence it is that 
musical sounds, by whatever means produced, dominate the 
finer impulses and loftier powers of our emotional nature to a 
greater extent than does any other influence, aside from reli- 
gion. 

Among the instruments that give forth musical vibrations, 
for the delight of the ear and the awakening of the soul, we 
may include the bell ; but being possessed of neither the organ's 
quivering columns of air, nor the harp's trembling strings of 
varied quality, it is narrowed in the range of its appeal, and 
restrained as to the possibilities of its expression. For it there 
are no notes admitting of a multitude of harmonious combina- 
tions, and making possible a myriad of tone-effects, and yet, 
among the material forms wherein music is held captive, there 
is none having so great a range of associations as the bell. Its 
chief function, indeed, is to suggest to the mind that association 
of ideas which revives and recalls, reanimates and reincarnates, 
the fading, the forgotten, the dead and the ghostly things of 
memory's realm. 

For centuries the tones of the bell^ as heard in song and in 
story, have thrilled the human heart with varied emotions. The 
tiny, tinkling bells of Oriental adornment, the chiming bells 
of tall minarets calling multitudes to prayer, the silver bells of 
my lady's bower, in palace gay or castle grim, and the golden 
bells of her steed's housings, or her falcon's hood, tell strange 
tales of dancing slave-girls, of wild fanatics, of stately lords 
and haughty dames. The solemn bells of cathedral spires and 
abbey towers tell nobler stories of the Church's sway ; of reli- 
gion's benign mission; of the victories of faith; of virtue's 
triumph in kingly courts and on bloody battle-fields ; of glorious 
heroism on the throne and of sweet saintliness within the 
sanctuary. 

Not only in story and in song have the bells their noted 



INTRODUCTION ii 

part, history likewise preserves their memory. In Mediaeval 
Ages, the bells announced the Truce of God, and called together 
the warriors of Europe to join the Crusades. In modern times, 
the tocsin of a massacre has pealed forth at the midnight hour, 
and bells have proclaimed the birthday of a great nation, the 
liberty of a brave people. 

In the events of civil history and in political strife, the bell 
has taken its part with dignity and efficiency, but it is in the 
domain of religion that it has always had its noblest mission 
and its greatest power. Sadly, joyously, solemnly, has it made, 
from stately towers and lofty spires, its announcements of 
deaths, of weddings, of holiday services and feast-day celebra- 
tions; sweetly, for many centuries^ and in many lands, has it 
preserved the memory and declared the glory of the Incarnation 
by the tri-daily summons of the Angelus ; and as an invitation 
to piety or to the service of charity, it has never ceased to ring 
from magnificent city edifices, from humble village chapels, 
from lonely mountain shrines and from monastic hospices on 
Alpine heights. 

Oh, the bells! the wondrous bells! How their music 
pleads, entreats, commands ! How truly it expresses reverent 
worship and ecstatic joy, holy triumph and sacred exultation! 

For the shelter of these many, many bells — with tones so 
varied, with missions and meanings so diverse, with histories 
and stories so strange and unlike — the great, the powerful, 
and the good have built graceful spires and majestic towers. 
Architecture, that kingly art, with a science for its soul, has 
ever been zealous in aiding man to give proper housing to the 
queenly bell; for without a tower the bell is a soul deprived, 
as it were, of its opportunities, and the tower without a bell is 
aspiration and ambition without an animating soul. 

And now — but hark ! the Convent bell is tolling ; a novice 
lies sleeping before God's Altar, her sweet young life of 
eighteen years suddenly merged into a glad eternity. " The 
tower bell " has called together a household of three hundred 
persons to witness before God's altar to the loveliness of this 
dear soul, a priceless gem, crystal clear, cut and polished, ready 



12 INTRODUCTION 

for its place in the virginal crown that rests upon the Sacred 
Heart of our Blessed Lord. 

Often, very often, has the great bell, during the twenty 
years of its service, called together such assemblies to plead 
for the blessed dead, more strange in their heedlessness of the 
bells than in aught else pertaining to their dreamless sleep. 
For the bells have no subjects so loyal and so prompt to obey 
as the true religious, to whom the community bell is " the voice 
of God." 

The Convent bell tells of lofty aspiration, with its minor 
tones of homely deeds well done; of noble intention, with its 
solemn chords, the harmonious doing of life's greater deeds ; 
of loving advancement in the interior and contemplative life, 
a sweet accompaniment to the solemn hymns and triumphal 
psalms of the consecrated, exterior, active life. All these God- 
like things are found portrayed in " The Story of Father Sam- 
uel and Saint Clara," and are symbolized by the expression 
" Golden Bells in Convent Towers." For in every truly conse- 
crated heart is suspended the " Golden Bell " of holy recollec- 
tion, chiming the call to unbroken converse with God. And 
in the solid massive " Tower " of true community life are hung 
the great " Bells " of the community spirit, the spirit of the 
Rule. 

Throughout this sacred year the " Golden Bells " of St. 
Clara's " Convent Towers " have been one while tolling the 
solemn nocturnes of life's stern discipline; and again, ringing 
the stately measures of a great overture to the noble oratorio of 
the Community's Golden Jubilee. 

St. Clara's religious children, their loyal hearts bowed in 
hushed thankfulness and holy awe before the throne of God, 
catch to-day faint echoes of heavenly music, for the protecting 
angels of St. Clara's wide domain are joining with the Jubilee 
Bells, and, in bursts of ecstatic song, are expressing the tumul- 
tuous gladness of their exultant joy. 

And when the Jubilee Year is past and the Jubilee Bells 
are hushed, St. Clara's mystic bells will still peal forth, from 



INTRODUCTION 13 

Sinsinawa's mystic towers : " Golden Bells," symbols of sacred 
ideas ; " Convent Towers," symbolic of holy ideals ; " Golden 
Bells," inverted chalices of life's daily sacrifice, whence we pour 
upon the altar of our high vocation the sacred libations of our 
faith and hope and love ! 





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%/\'. Q-/^c<?'>-i cc £ ^ <>^^r€aLZj cc c /^ e.//t C ^. 



THE LIFE-STORY 

OF 

Rev. Samuel Charles Mazzuchelli, O.P. 



CHAPTER I 

FATHER MAZZUCHELLI, MISSIONARY TO THE 

INDIANS 

Milan, the home of the wondrous Cathedral, the city of 
palaces and of libraries, the Episcopal See of St. Ambrose 
and of St. Charles Borromeo, is intimately associated with the 
name of Father Mazzuchelli, not only as the place of his noble 
birth, but as the environment that gave him his princely man- 
ners and elegant tastes, that awakened his love for learning 
and his spirit of piety, that inspired his dauntless courage on 
fields of difficulty and of danger, and that enkindled his ardent 
zeal for the spread of faith and religion. His forefathers, rich 
bankers for generations back, had prided themselves less upon 
their wealth, and the power it gave them, than upon their 
scholarly attainments and their fidelity to the Church. From 
them Father Mazzuchelli received that best of heritages, a fine 
mind, a good heart, and a noble character. 

Milan had unfolded his natural gifts, America was to 
develop, exercise and perfect them, by taxing to their utmost 
the great powers of his intellect, by constantly testing the 
strength of his character and the nobility of his heart. In 
Milan, gratifying his father's natural pride in him, he would 
have become a successful business man, an influential member 
of the best society, an edifying figure at religious functions 
in the great Cathedral. 

In America, he became the humble, unselfish religious, the 
zealous, high-minded priest, the eloquent, persuasive preacher, 
a fearless missionary among strange tribes and peoples, a suc- 

15 



i6 GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 

cessful builder of many churches, an inspired apostle to the 
ignorant and the unbelieving. 

In Milan, his sphere would have been small, his labor lim- 
ited, his influence circumscribed. In America, his sphere was 
the great Northwest, and there he became the saintly guide, 
father and friend of multitudes, savage and civilized. Catholic 
and non-Catholic. His influence became boundless, his fame 
almost national. The youth of twenty had chosen well, for 
time and for eternity, when he responded to the call for mis- 
sionaries to America. 

Father Mazzuchelli's childhood had been passed at his 
mother's knee, in accordance with the law of old-time Catholic 
households, and the wisdom of old-country Catholic mothers, 
and his youth had been spent with various tutors, under the 
daily and intimate supervision of his worthy father. Nor can 
we say, with the picture of his after life before us, that such 
training had been injudicious. In the sphere that awaited him, 
to be innocent was to be strong ; to be pure minded was to be 
powerful. Inexperience in youthful w!orldliness became the 
grandest element of his later manliness. His eye was always 
clear and dauntless ; it never wavered before savage, or sage, 
or sinner. 

The call of the divine Master has never been regardful of 
the tenderness of family ties. Obedience to that call, whether 
it be the soldier of the commonwealth or the soldier of the 
Church who hears it, means the abandonment of all that the 
human heart holds dear. And so the youthful Mazzuchelli, 
with that mingling of joy and sorrow that ever fills the soul, 
when the divine comes in touch with the human, disappointed 
his proud father's hopes and grieved his fond mother's heart, 
first by choosing to be a Dominican religious in his own coun- 
try, and then by electing to become a missionary priest in far- 
away America. He was young to make so brave a choice, 
requiring, as it did, fortitude to renounce what he loved, and 
courage to embrace what he well might fear. 

But quietly, firmly, devoutly, he resolved to leave riches for 
poverty; plenty for scarcity; congenial society for solitude 



GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 17 

and loneliness ; the great city for the wilderness ; palaces for 
wigwams ; cathedrals of marble and altars of silver for chapels 
of logs and altars of bark. 

For five years he had been studying as a Dominican Friar, 
in Faenza and in Rome, when his superiors, in response to the 
request of Rt. Rev. Edward Fenwick, O. P., Bishop of Cin- 
cinnati, selected him for the American missions. With their 
approval he set out, in June, 1828, to visit his home in Milan, 
that he might take leave of his relatives and friends. 

With a prophetic feeling that the separation would be long, 
that time's changes in his home would be many and serious, 
and that nothing there would ever again be quite the same, 
he received the benediction of his parents, the tearful embrace 
of his brothers and sisters, the sorrowful farewells of the old 
servants, and departed from his father's roof, his strong soul 
fired with noble resolves, and his brave, tender heart filled with 
nature's bitter pain. 

Having returned to his convent, after his farewell to Milan. 
he left Rome for Lyons, France, in the company of the Vicar 
General of Cincinnati. Circumstances required him to prolong 
his stay in France, so he took up his abode in the " Little 
Seminary of Saint Nicholas," and there he acquired that knowl- 
edge of the French language which, after his ordination in 
America, he found indispensable in the exercise of his ministry 
among the Canadian French who inhabited northern Wisconsin. 

It was on the 5th of October, 1828, when he finally set 
sail from Havre for a new country, vast and strange, there to 
find his new home. He took passage on the American ship 
Edward Quesnel, bound for New York. The voyage was long 
and stormy, but he was not disturbed, for his health was excel- 
lent and his heart was fearless. With characteristic courage. 
he had himself bound to the main mast during a most violent 
storm, that he might see the ship '* at the mercy of contrary 
winds, tossed from wave to wave of the foaming waters, a 
helpless victim of the imperious billows." (Memoirs.) 

On November 7th land was in sight, but another storm, 
which succeeded a brief calm, raged for five days. The ship 



1 8 GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 

was delayed and did not enter the harbor of New York until 
November 14th. The young stranger was not favorably 
impressed by what he saw during his brief stay in the American 
metropolis. While admiring its material progress, he deplored 
its moral retrogression, and found in the conditions that pre- 
vailed, a proof that '' the grandeurs of this world, whether in 
monarchies or in republics, are always in strict relationship 
with a general corruption of manners." (Memoirs.) 

Leaving New York he visited, to use his own expressions, 
'' the beautiful city of Philadelphia " and " the venerable city 
of Baltimore," on his way to Cincinnati, Bishop Fenwick's 
episcopal city, which was the place of his destination. The 
journey of eight hundred miles, which was to be made partly 
by land, partly by water, presented many difficulties incident 
to his ignorance of the country and of the language. He made 
part of it . by stage, and with insufficient funds, but with a 
perfect trust in God who had called him, and would be sure 
to help him in an hour of need. 

This trust was not betrayed ; an American gentleman, also 
traveling by stage, had noticed the young foreigner's embar- 
rassment, at the offices and inns, and by signs gave the infor- 
mation that he would make all the arrangements, and pay all 
the bills, until the journey's end, when the sum expended 
could be returned to him. On arriving at their destination, 
the courteous gentleman perceiving at a glance that the young 
man had not sufficient money to reimburse his unknown friend, 
hastened to tell him that the sum lacking could be given later 
towards the building of the new church, the framework of 
which they could see from where they stood. With musical 
Italian words, that the gentleman could not understand, the 
stranger endeavored to express his gratitude to the kind friend 
sent to him by God, in response to his sincere trust. 

Bishop Fenwick was a Dominican ; moreover, he had been 
the secondary cause of the young foreigner's exile from his 
sunny, native land to the inhospitable western territories of the 
United States, hence he made his confrere doubly welcome, 
and With great cordiality and sweetness, interested himself in 



GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 19 

all that concerned him. The good Bishop desired the young 
Missionary to devote himself particularly to the study of the 
English language, and its acquirement occupied his mind much 
of the time until Christmas of that year. 

In accordance with the Bishop's suggestion, he then made 
arrangements to visit the Dominican Convent of St. Rose, at 
Springfield, Kentucky. From Cincinnati to Louisville, by 
water, was a pleasant trip, but the ride on horseback, from 
Louisville to Bardstown, thirty-eight miles without rest, was 
very wearisome for one unaccustomed to such a mode of 
travel. It is not surprising that his fatigue forced him, after 
reaching the residence of Bishop Flaget, to take two days' rest 
before he pursued his way to the Convent, fifteen miles distant 
from the town. 

Early in February, 1829, he desired to return to Cincinnati, 
but was forced, by the breaking up of the ice in the Ohio River, 
to delay for a week or more at Bardstown, where he passed 
many pleasant and profitable hours in the company of Bishop 
Flaget. In March he was able to resume his journey. Hav- 
ing arrived at his destination, he returned to the Bishop's house, 
where he made his home, and until September, he fulfilled 
the duties of sacristan at the cathedral. Then he took up his 
abode in the Dominican Convent of St. Joseph, Perry County, 
Ohio, to prepare for ordination to the priesthood. There he 
enjoyed not only the quiet and the retirement suited to that 
preparation, but also many favorable opportunities for the 
assiduous study of the English language. About the first of 
the year, 1830, he began to give catechetical instructions in 
St. Joseph's Church ; this afforded him excellent practice in 
the use of correct English, and was a most beneficial exercise 
in preparation for his chosen work of preaching. 

In July, Bishop Fenwick ordained him deacon, and on 
September 5, he was ordained priest, in the cathedral at Cin- 
cinnati, after Pontifical High Mass. The sermon on that 
occasion was preached by Rev. J. J. Mullen, who took for his 
text the words ** Ajs the Father hath sent Me, so do I send 
you." No expression could have been more appropriate, since 



20 GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 

the newly ordained priest was to become a missionary to the 
red men and an apostle to the white men of the wilds of 
Wisconsin. 

The Diocese of Cincinnati was at that time of such vast 
extent, and priests were needed in so many places, the Bishop 
was, for a time, undecided in what direction to send his zealous 
new helper. Then came an urgent demand from the Catholics 
of the northern part of the diocese, that a priest might be sent 
to them without delay. In response to their request the Bishop 
desired Father Mazzuchelli to depart immediately for the 
Island of Mackinac, to labor among the Canadian French, 
the mixed race, and the Indian tribes of Michigan and Wis- 
consin. 

Having crossed the entire state of Ohio, navigated along 
the western coast of Lake Erie, passed the city of Detroit, 
and traveled two hundred and fifty miles on Lake Huron, a 
journey of eight hundred miles in all, the Missionary reached 
the sought-for island. In a little village of about five hundred 
souls, the greater number of them Catholics of Canadian origin, 
he took up his abode. At least two-thirds of the Canadian- 
French of the place were of mixed race, part Indian, part 
French. Great was the delight of these people to have a priest 
in their midst, and eagerly did they flock to hear him, on the 
first Sunday after his arrival. Heretofore they had been 
, attended occasionally by a priest from Detroit, but now they 
were happy in having a resident pastor, though they knew that 
he would be obliged to leave them frequently, in order to visit 
the distant parts of his charge. 

In November of that same year, 1830, he made the first of 
his many journeys to the village of Green Bay, two hundred 
miles distant from the island. Its population comprised one 
thousand souls, and among them he found a Catholic people 
of the same races as those on the island, and equally ignorant 
of religion. There being no other place large enough for his 
congregation, he celebrated the Holy Sacrifice in a granary. 
Only a few of the long-neglected and ill-instructed people were 
inclined to receive the sacraments. Long and earnestly did 




"There's no Fun in March" 




A Corner in the Sheepfold at Sinsinawa Mound 



GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 21 

he work among them, and many a weary mile did he travel to 
reach them, before he had the comfort and the joy of seeing 
them reform their lives and begin to practice the sacred obliga- 
tions imposed by the Catholic Church. He was not disheart- 
ened, however, but quietly planted the seed of the Word, and 
left it to God to give the increase. 

Gathering around him the Indians of the locality, he spoke 
to them, through an interpreter, words which bore good fruit 
at a later time. God does not use the methods of the revivalist. 
As the vegetable seed in the ground, so the word-seed in the 
human heart requires time, warmth, moisture and sunlight — 
the moisture of repentant tears, the warmth of charity, the 
sunlight of divine grace, and time for germination and growth. 
Father Mazzuchelli was always content to continue his arduous 
labors, however gloomy the outlook, and to wait for the fruit 
and the grain till God's appointed harvest time. 

He returned to Mackinac on November i6th, and busied 
himself untiringly with the instruction and spiritual progress 
of his little flock. They came with commendable regularity 
to hear him preach, but it was difficult to win them from their 
long-continued indifference to the sacraments. Though he 
devoted all his taste, skill and zeal to the proper celebration 
of Christmas, but few received Holy Communion on that great 
feast. 

During the winter, he had occasion, repeatedly, to defend 
the Church against persons who openly and offensively attacked 
her. For this work he was singularly well fitted, and by his 
forcible and logical treatment of disputed subjects, not only 
won many souls from erroneous belief, but caused an increase 
of piety and devotion among Catholics. The change for the 
better among his own people was manifested in their greater 
interest in parish affairs. They not only enlarged their little 
frame church, but they built a small residence for the priest, 
and took pains to keep both in repair. 

On the occasion of his second visit, in May, 1831, he 
reached Green Bay by means of a trading boat. Having no 
church, he celebrated Mass in private houses, sometimes in 



2 2 GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 

the living-rooms, sometimes in the attic; and always he 
preached: exhorting and instructing; making religious prac- 
tice attractive ; and enforcing the idea that duty to one's soul 
is of paramount importance. As a consequence, the number of 
those who received the sacraments steadily increased. 

His labors among the Indians, at the time of this visit, were 
singularly blest; and he had the happiness, before returning 
to Mackinac, of baptizing twienty-three of the Menominee tribe. 
This meant an assurance of a far greater number of converts 
at his next visit, for each Christian Indian would, in the mean 
time, devote himself, with untiring zeal, to the conversion of 
others in the tribe. In the autumn of this same year, the 
Missionary returned to the Menominee village, ^.nd spent two 
months instructing the Christian Indians for the reception of 
Holy Communion. He also opened a school for them, under 
a master who could speak their language perfectly, besides 
English and French. 

Soon after this, Father Mazzuchelli began, with the erection 
of a small edifice in Green Bay, that remarkable work of church 
building, which, for many years, formed an important part of 
his missionary labors. He visited the people in their scattered 
homes, personally allotting to each individual, in accordance 
with his circumstances, the kind and quantity of materials he 
was expected to contribute to the construction of a small frame 
church. The response to an appeal so moderate in its require- 
ments was prompt and generous, and thus, in 1831, came into 
existence the first church in that village which has since become 
a city with several Catholic churches and a cathedral. In his 
Memoirs Father Mazzuchelli mentions, in referring to this 
work, many interesting details, for which we have not space in 
this little book. 

The summer of that year was spent in visiting, in the vicin- 
ity of Mackinac, his numerous flock of mixed race, so widely 
scattered and so difficult to reach. These people soon learned 
to value their immortal souls, by seeing so many proofs of the 
value the holy priest set upon them. These men of the wilder- 
ness and the wild lake shores were wonderfully clear-headed; 



GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 23 

their ideas were few, but they were definite, and when they saw 
this poHshed, educated gentleman enduring every kind of 
physical hardship, and an unutterable mental loneliness, not 
for material gain for himself, but for the spiritual gain of 
others, utter strangers to him, and often his enemies, they 
were all profoundly impressed, and many of them were effect- 
ively attracted to the faith and practice of the Church. 

In August we find him, in a fragile bark canoe, following, 
for ninety miles, the northern shore of Lake Huron, and the 
course of the majestic St. Mary River, as far as Sault Sainte 
Marie. Here he landed, and, standing under the shade of a 
stately oak, he preached, as did the apostles of old, under the 
blue sky, to the people seated upon the grass. Many times, 
in the few days he spent there, did he thus address the people 
in this, " one of God's first temples." A few confessions, 
several marriages, and many baptisms of children made up 
the slender harvest of this first visit to a people long deprived 
of the ministrations of a priest. The non-Catholics of the 
place showed him many courtesies. The commandant of the 
American fort invited him to dine, and a soldier gave him the 
use of his apartment in the fort, that he might preach to the 
officers and their families, though there was but one Catholic 
among them. The scholarly dignity of his appearance, the 
singular charm of his manner, and the wise graciousness of 
his words always won for him, all through life, not the mere 
toleration, but the sincere respect and friendliness of non- 
Catholics. 

When the brief, cool summer was over, he returned with 
pleasure to his little home beside the church in ]\Iackinac. 
There he felt a longing to receive the Sacrament of Penance, 
and to hold intercourse once more with a congenial mind, 
and so he departed for Arbe Croche, on an inlet of the extreme 
northern part of Lake Michigan. Arrived there, he held con- 
verse for a few short days with the saintly Father Baraga, 
missionary to the Ottawa Indians. These devoted men, both 
lonely and isolated, and both leading lives of heroic sacrifice, 
far from kindred and friends, met each other with inexpressible 



24 GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 

emotions of joy and consolation. In his Memoirs, Father 
Mazzuchelli describes his journey over the ice-bound waters 
of the lake, in company with a few Indians, and tells how they 
passed the bitter January nights on beds of pine twigs, beside 
a fire that gave most of its heat to space. The Priest said his 
beads ; the Indians sang hymns ; and then, in spite of much 
physical discomfort, all slept the sleep of peace. 

Finally they arrived at the place where the venerable 
Father Baraga dwelt, and found it a sort of earthly paradise 
of religious practice. Think of a village where the whole 
population arose, in the morning, at the sound of the Angelus 
bell, and in a few minutes repaired to the church for morning 
prayers and the Holy Mass ! To behold such a scene gave 
the visitor unspeakable joy. Refreshed and comforted by his 
brief sojourn in Father Baraga's holy little village, the Mis- 
sionary labored with renewed zeal on his return to his own 
flock, and had the delight to number among them, in the spring 
of 1832, more than fifty Indians, converts from paganism. To 
attract the Ottawas, Menominees and Chippewas of northern 
Wisconsin to his church, the Father had, on Sundays and 
Festivals, the Vesper psalms sung alternately in Latin and in 
Indian. It proved to be an admirable device, bringing many 
within the sphere of his influence whom otherwise he could 
not have reached. His converts were faithful and edifying. 
The tender devotion, humility, modesty and simplicity with 
which these savages approached the sacraments of Penance 
and Eucharist were most consoling to the indefatigable worker 
in the cause of their salvation. 

Two hundred Catholics of various races and as many 
pagan Indians inhabited at that time a place that is still called 
St. Ignace, and these were a part of Father Mazzuchelli's 
charge. He visited them from time to time, making the short 
journey of three miles by water in summer and on ice in 
winter. By persevering kindness and attention, he finally made 
an impression on them. The Festival of Easter, 1832, brought 
abundant grace to many of these people. There were more 



GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 25 

than a hundred communicants that morning, some of whom 
had been absent from the sacraments for forty years. 

After this consoUng experience, the Father repaired once 
more to Green Bay, and spent nearly two months there attend- 
ing the spiritual needs of the French population. The Menom- 
inee Indians, his converts of the previous year, had been 
watching eagerly for his return, that they might receive the 
Sacrament of Penance and Eucharist, and that sixty new con- 
verts might be baptized. 

On his return to Mackinac, in July, Father Mazzuchelli 
was rejoiced to find that his revered friend and spiritual 
father, Bishop Fenwick, had arrived in his absence, and 
intended to remain with him some little time, not only to 
administer Confirmation, but to aid him in conducting special 
exercises for the spiritual benefit of his people, and of the many 
Catholic traders who frequented the island at that season of 
the year. 

Some of these traders had traveled seven or eight hundred 
miles to sell their furs at that point. Nearly all of them were 
Catholics by birth, but having seen neither priest nor church 
in many years, their faith was dead. To revive it, in those 
who had become careless, was a more difficult task, very often,, 
than to kindle it newly in the heart of a pagan Indian. The 
venerable Bishop and the earnest young Priest heard the con- 
fessions of hundreds and sent them on their way rejoicing, 
fully determined to persevere in their resolve to lead a better 
life. 

It was the last time that these devoted friends worked 
together, nor did they meet again. The Bishop, so dear to 
his priests and people, died at Canton, Ohio, on his way 
from Mackinac to Cincinnati. To the young Priest, in a land 
still strange to him, this was a serious bereavement. The one 
tie that had replaced those of his distant home was rudely 
severed ; but his was a brave heart, and a brave heart's way 
to comfort, at such hours, is redoubled prayer and multiplied 
labors. 



26 GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 

On August 15th, he had saluted his beloved Bishop, having 
little thought that it was for the last time, and had departed 
for a second visit to Sault Sainte Marie. The most noteworthy 
event of this visit was the renewal in his presence of thirty- 
two marriages in six days. In the absence of a clergyman, 
and because of the hopelessness of finding one in that wild 
country, the parties had contracted marriage, with parents and 
friends as witnesses of their solemn promise, and with the 
intention, in most cases, of being married by the priest, 
should one appear. To remove every excuse from the way of 
these renewals of the marriage vow, no fee was asked or 
accepted by the priest. The blessings of this visit of the devoted 
Missionary w-ere likewise extended to the Chippewa Indians, 
many of whom were baptized. 

The journey from Sault Sainte Marie to Mackinac, from 
there to Green Bay, and from Green Bay to Prairie du Chien 
was neither easy nor pleasant in those early days, but the 
spiritual needs of the old Mississippi town were imperious. 
Hence the Father followed, on horseback, as speedily as pos- 
sible, through dense forests and over wild prairies, the narrow, 
tortuous path, called an Indian trail, that he might reach the 
people who were so greatly in need of his ministrations. 

It was the middle of September, 1832; peace had just 
been proclaimed between the whites and the fierce Sac and 
Fox Indians; traveling, therefore, was less dangerous than it 
had been for a long time previous, but the Priest and a 
friend, a judge of the Circuit Court, who accompanied him, 
had sufficient exercise for fortitude and courage, without 
meeting unfriendly Indians. Riding all day, sleeping on the 
ground at night, getting lost while going around impassable 
swamps, hollowing little boats from trees and crossing rivers 
in them, while the horses swam to the shore, these were fre- 
quent incidents of this, as of many other journeys that the 
Missionary made in the cause of religion and for the salvation 
of souls. 

Finally, the weary travelers reached Prairie du Chien in 
safety and with more than ordinary pleasure, on September 



GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 27 

22, 1832. There Father MazzuchelH met opportunities for the 
accomplishment of every sort of spiritual work, for the people 
had been served, only at rare intervals, by a priest coming from 
St. Louis, a distance of six hundred miles. There was no 
church in the town; Father MazzuchelH^ his own station 
being four hundred miles distant, could not visit the place 
often enough to superintend the building of one, hence he did 
not then attempt the work, but collected the people in houses 
and in public halls where he exhorted and instructed them, 
and where nearly all of them received the sacraments. 

In the mean time, two Redemptorist Fathers, to Father 
Mazzuchelli's great joy, had been sent from Cincinnati to 
minister to the people of Green Bay. Hence he did not delay 
there when returning from Prairie du Chien, but, in Novem- 
ber, crossed immediately to the island, nearly losing his life in 
a violent snow-storm. As on many similar occasions, he was 
divinely protected, and reached his little home without having 
suffered any permanent injury. 

It seemed to him a long time since he had enjoyed the com- 
fort and happiness of receiving the Sacrament of Penance, 
hence soon after his safe return to Mackinac, he departed for 
Father Baraga's holy village, in company with ten Catholic 
Indians on their way to Arbe Ccoche. In the Memoirs will be 
found a beautiful description of their voyage across the lake. 

After a visit full of the joys of spiritual ministration, given 
and received, a visit signalized by friendly intercourse with 
a thoroughly congenial mind, the Missionary set out, in Decem- 
ber, to make the return journey to the island on snow-shoes, a 
mode of travel so entirely new to him that he experienced, 
after a time, a weakness of the knees so painful that he was 
forced to permit his young Ottawa guides to carry him to 
an abandoned hut, where he rested for an hour. Having par- 
taken of a scanty midday meal of roasted corn and flour por- 
ridge, he and his companions resumed their snow-shoe journey, 
and after spending the night in the cabin of a poor Canadian 
hunter, soon found themselves on the shore opposite the island. 
They had scarcely crossed over to it when the weather changed 



28 GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 

suddenly, and the ice broke up. This, preventing the return 
of the four Indians to their homes across the strait, gave 
Father Mazzuchelli the doubtful pleasure of their company 
for two weeks in the cramped quarters of his tiny pastoral 
residence. 

In accordance with a wish that Bishop Fenwick had 
expressed, shortly before his death, Father Mazzuchelli 
departed, on April i6, 1833, to visit the Winnebago Indians 
of Wisconsin. Having spent a few days with the Redemptorist 
Fathers at Green Bay, he went westward, on horseback, for a 
distance of a hundred and ten miles, to a village eight miles 
from Fort Winnebago. Here he found a tribe of ferocious 
savages, far more fierce and immoral than either the Ottawas 
or the Menominees. Their language, which differed greatly 
from that of the neighboring tribes, lacked all words corre- 
sponding to our most important religious terms, thus pre- 
senting an insuperable obstacle in the way of their instruction, 
until compounds of their words were arranged to express 
supremely important Christian ideas. 

The Priest's life among these wild red men was very labori- 
ous, and his first visit to them not very successful, for they 
were hard of heart and difficult to win from their evil ways. 
A second visit, made in August of that year, after a journey of 
over three hundred miles, on horseback and by boat, bore more 
abundant fruit. Crossing to the western side of the Wisconsin 
River, he took up his abode, for a time, among these fierce 
people, and endeavored to learn their language. 

The reflecting reader may reaHze in some slight degree 
what it meant for a gentleman of Father Mazzuchelli's high 
birth, refined education, and fastidious tastes to dwell in the 
wigwams of the Winnebagos, jarred upon by their detestable 
habits, partaking of their vile food, and protecting himself 
against their savage ferocity. Nothing daunted his strong 
spirit, however, and so, in three months, fifty children and 
adults were ready for baptism. When these, his converts from 
a most debasing paganism, had reached the number of two 
hundred, he went to Detroit, a distance of seven hundred miles, 



GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 29 

to have printed, in the Winnebago language, a small volume 
of eighteen octavo pages, containing the essential prayers 
and doctrine of the Catholic Church. While the Father was 
thus engaged in behalf of his red children, events were shaping 
themselves that were to have a remote but profound influence 
over his whole future, and through him, over the future of 
many others. 

When the Diocese of Detroit was founded, and Mackinac 
was no longer under the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Cin- 
cinnati, the Vicar Provincial of the Dominican Fathers in the 
Province of St. Joseph, wished to recall Father Mazzuchelli 
to the Diocese of Cincinnati, where he had been ordained, and 
where the Dominicans had their home. The Father having 
finished his arrangements in regard to the printing of the 
" Orcangra Aramee Wawakaka," or '' Winnebago Prayer- 
book," was about to accede to the request for his presence 
at St. Joseph's when the Bishop Elect of Detroit insisted 
on retaining him in the new diocese. The Vicar Provincial 
yielded, and Father Mazzuchelli, at the request of the newly 
appointed Bishop, preached, every Sunday in October, in the 
Detroit cathedral, in French at late Mass and in English at 
Vespers. 

In November, the Redemptorist Fathers having been 
appointed to another place. Father Mazzuchelli became resi- 
dent pastor at Green Bay; his duties included missionary 
work among the Menominee Indians. As pastor, he offered 
the Holy Sacrifice and preached twice on Sundays and Fes- 
tivals, and administered the sacraments whenever required. 
As missionary, he devoted himself untiringly to the instruction 
of the Indians, principally by means of interpreters. He did 
not try at this period to study the Indian language, because 
such study would have occupied too much of the time that he 
felt in duty bound to devote to the instruction of the widely 
scattered French and English speaking people who had been 
confided to his pastoral care. 

The early part of 1834 was spent in making visits to the 
cabins of the Indians near Fort Winnebago, on the west side 



30 GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 

of the Wisconsin River. Only by these personal visits to 
them in their wigwams could he reach these wandering sheep. 
Since they would not come to the shepherd, he went in search 
of them, and thus won them to enter the fold. 

Later in the year the Missionary again visited the Win- 
nebagos near Prairie du Chien. His interesting experiences 
while among them may be read in his Memoirs. With the 
desire to visit his Dominican brethren in Ohio, he left Fort 
Winnebago late in the winter in company with a trader, in 
whose sled he rode a hundred and fifty miles on the ice of 
the Wisconsin River to a place whence, by crossing a point of 
land, he reached Prairie du Chien, in February, 1835. Hav- 
ing administered the Sacraments of Penance and of Eucharist 
to the white inhabitants of that town, and baptized a number 
of the red men, he resumed, in April, his missionary journey — 
such he had made it by his ministrations along the way 
— and proceeded on horseback as far as Mineral Point, a 
small village in Wisconsin. Here a gentleman requested him 
to baptize his three children and to preach in his house. This 
was work exactly to the Missionary's taste. As he was mount- 
ing his horse next morning, the gentleman put twenty dollars 
into his hand. " God be thanked ! " exclaimed the Priest, 
" without this I could not have proceeded for a tenth part of 
my long journey to Ohio." 

This visit to his brethren at St. Joseph's Hjouse of Studies 
had long been the object of his thoughts and desires. He had 
undertaken the journey without sufficient means, but with his 
usual unshaken trust in God's providence, which had not 
failed him. Now he could go on his way without fear of 
awkward delays. A ride of forty miles brought him to Galena, 
Illinois, the center of the lead-mining business of that time. 
The city of Dubuque, Iowa, was then a very small village. 
Neither of these towns had a church or a priest, though there 
were three hundred Catholics scattered through the country 
around Galena, and quite a number resided in and about 
Dubuque. 

Father Mazzuchelli interrupted his journey to minister to 



GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 31 

these people. Here, as in the northern part of the state, 
Catholics, so long without the visible signs and symbols of 
their faith, had grown indifferent to the practices of religion. 
The sacraments had ceased to be of vital importance to them, 
hence but few went to Confession and still fewer received 
Holy Communion. Many children were baptized, however, 
and these, at a later day, formed fervent congregations. Even 
then, a resident clergyman could soon have aroused the sleep- 
ing faith of the people to a zealous accomplishment of good 
works. 

Indeed, they urged Father Mazzuchelli to remain with 
them as their pastor, but he, not being authorized at that 
time to assume the charge, pushed on towards St. Louis, five 
hundred miles distant. His brief sojourn with Bishop Rosati, 
of holy memory, was signalized by its spiritual consolations. 
Continuing his way along the Mississippi and Ohio rivers, he 
traveled an additional five hundred and fifty miles before reach- 
ing Cincinnati, where he paid his respects to the zealous Bishop 
John Purcell, and then rode one hundred and fifty miles further 
to reach the Dominican convent at Somerset. 

Here he took counsel of his brethren of the Order of 
St. Dominic regarding the continuance of his missionary labors 
in the north, neither he nor they knowing that this same ques- 
tion was then pending at the Dominican monastery in Rome. 
It was considered best by his brethren in Ohio for him to 
return to those labors in the Northwest which he had, with 
God's help, made so successful. This decision meant for him 
another tedious journey of one thousand three hundred miles 
to the Upper Mississippi, where he arrived on the 4th of July, 

1835. 

The determination of the Bishop of Detroit to retain him 
in his diocese, and the advice given him by the Dominican 
Fathers at St. Joseph's, caused Father Mazzuchelli to remain 
in the Northwest and, finally, turned his footsteps towards the 
labors and the honors God held in reserve for him. The 
Catholic people of the growing cities of Galena and Dubuque 
had been making plans, ever since his visit to them, to secure 



32 GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 

Father . Mazzuchelli's permanent residence among them. They 
accompHshed their purpose by addressing themselves directly 
to his superiors at San Sabina, in Rome, representing their 
great need of a pastor, and requesting the appointment of 
Father Mazzuchelli to the charge. The most Reverend Father 
Giacinto Cipolletti, Master General of the Order of Preachers, 
promptly replied to their request and most graciously granted 
it, conferring upon Father Mazzuchelli, at the same time, 
important powers, and granting him special privileges that 
would aid him greatly in supporting his accumulating burdens 
and responsibilities. 

Thus was God's will made known to him, after he had so 
anxiously sought to learn it. He went the more joyfully to 
these people, who needed and so greatly desired his care, 
because his services were no longer indispensable to the tribes 
and people of northern Wisconsin, several priests having 
recently offered themselves for labor in those missionary fields. 




CHAPTER II 

FATHER MAZZUCHELLI, PASTOR AND BUILDER 

OF CHURCHES 

Here we begin a new chapter in the devoted Father's life. 
Those lonely years in the desolate north had been fruitful in 
many a strong gift for his own soul, as well as for the souls 
that had been in his care. That which had been sp unpleasant 
and so difficult in the doing, was to become sweet and consoling 
in the enjoyment of memory. 

In his Memoirs, the Father tells us that he had so trained 
his imagination that, when he was in the midst of some diffi- 
culty of rough travel, it would turn spontaneously to memory's 
beautiful pictures of things that he had seen in Europe, on those 
occasions when he had visited the churches and sanctuaries of 
Florence, Bologna, Milan, Genoa, Turin, Lyons, Paris and 
Rome. And so when " he found himself alone, without a 
church, in unbelieving lands, and deprived of all those exterior 
objects that excite piety, the holy recollection of things seen in 
Catholic lands helped him to bear his loneliness and longing. 
When about to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice in a hut of logs, 
or in an Indian wigwam, on an altar made of bark, he would 
imagine himself present at the sacred rites of the churches in 
Europe, and, uniting in spirit in the solemn Canticles of divine 
worship worthily environed, he would lose his distaste for his 
rude surroundings, because almost unconscious of them." Now 
he will have a new set of memories, and as he labors among 
white men, will recall with joyful satisfaction the fruitful days 
spent with the wild red men of the Wisconsin forests. 

New work of a more congenial nature awaited him, and 
would give new zest to life. He had unbounded faith in the 
civil and religious possibilities of the great Northwest. Hence 
it was with renewed zeal and a brighter hope that he began 

33 



34 GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 

his work in Galena and Dubuque, among people desirous of 
intellectual and moral improvement, and capable of great 
temporal advancement. 

The earnestness with which they had sought to secure his 
sacred services had proved his people's appreciation of his 
ability to accomplish a great work in their midst ; their subse- 
quent readiness to co-operate with him in his zealous efforts 
for their spiritual welfare was a constant incentive to him, 
and a deep consolation. 

He often referred, in terms of warm admiration, to the 
generosity displayed by the people of Dubuque County. He 
had excellent opportunities to test it, for he was architect, 
superintendent and collector for the first Catholic church built 
in Dubuque. The corner-stone was laid on August 15, 1836, 
and the church was dedicated towards the end of October, 
under the patronage of St. Raphael. A complete account of 
his efforts in behalf of this work, and of the generosity of the 
people in giving him support, may be read in his Memoirs. 

His attention was divided between the transaction of these 
important affairs in Dubuque and the construction of a church 
in Galena, the corner-stone of which was put in place on 
September 12, 1836. A few feet of the wall of this edifice 
stood, without additions, from 1836 to 1839. In the mean 
time, a small frame structure was built. It was dedicated in 
November, under the patronage of St. Michael, and served not 
only as a chapel, but as a residence for the priest. In 1839 
the stone edifice was completed, and the name of St. Michael 
transferred to it. A few years later it was destroyed by fire. 

Father Mazzuchelli's labors were not confined to the 
interests of religion in Galena and in Dubuque, his zeal and 
responsibility kept him busy in other directions also, for his 
missionary field comprised, at that time, southwestern Wiscon- 
sin, northern Illinois, and the whole territory of Iowa. 

The liberty granted to Catholics by the United States 
government was frequently the subject of a fervent expression 
of Father Mazzuchelli's admiration. In the first Legislature 
of Wisconsin, which met at Belmont, Lafayette County, in 



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GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 35 

1836, there were thirty-six Protestants and only two CathoHcs, 
yet Father MazzuchelH, devoted and uncompromising CathoHc 
priest, was chosen to be chaplain of that body. Because of 
many other demands upon his time, calling him to the distant 
parts of his mission, he served only one week, during which 
he opened the exercises each morning with prayer, and on 
one occasion made an address to the House, in presence of the 
Governor. 

At that time, the nearest priest resided two hundred and 
ten miles from Dubuque, and his station was so difficult to 
reach in winter that Father MazzuchelH found it easier to 
follow the Mississippi River, for five hundred miles to St. 
Louis, that he might receive the Sacrament of Penance before 
Christmas. 

January, 1837, was spent in working among the people of 
Dubuque and Galena ; February was devoted to the Catholics, 
savage and civilized, at Prairie du Chien. In April, he again 
visited his Confessor in St. Louis, to fulfill the Easter obliga- 
tion. When returning, he stopped at the fort situated on Rock 
Island, to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and then, 
crossing the river to Davenport, he administered the sacra- 
ments to the only Catholic family in that vicinity. 

On another occasion, after spending several days near Rock 
Island, he wished to resume his journey, but found the steamer 
icebound. The length of the delay being as uncertain as was 
the possible condition of the weather. Father MazzuchelH, in 
company with other travelers, undertook to walk the rest 
of the way, and after three days of tramping across an unin- 
habited country, and three nights of sleeping on the ground, 
reached Galena in safety. Referring, in his Memoirs, to this 
painful experience Father MazzuchelH recalls, with expressions 
of warmest gratitude, the reverent generosity of one of the 
travelers, an Irishman, who, on one of the coldest nights 
deprived himself of covering, that the Priest might be better 
protected, and did this when the Priest was asleep, so that the 
self-sacrificing act of kindness might not be refused. We can 
hear him saying, when gently rebuked in the morning, " Arrah, 



36 GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 

Father, what difference if I had frozen? But had you frozen, 
how many would grieve and suffer loss to their souls ! " 

The sufferings of the Missionary on this occasion did not 
hinder him from taking another long journey that same winter. 
His interest in the good people of Galena and Dubuque had 
not rendered him forgetful of his dear savages in northwestern 
Wisconsin. Hie longed to learn how they had fared since his 
departure from their midst, and so he undertook to reach them 
in a one-horse cutter and without any companion. Through 
dense forests and across wide prairies, along the course of ice- 
bound rivers and over frozen lakes, on roads always difficult 
to trace and often invisible, this was no pleasant trip, even 
with congenial company. But alone, amid a silence that could 
be almost felt, alone, in an ice-bound, snow-covered, wind- 
swept solitude, unbroken for miles by any evidence of human 
life — it would have been appalling, had he stopped to think 
about it as a personal matter, instead of regarding it as the 
necessary price to be paid for the spiritual health of precious 
and exceedingly needful souls. 

Indeed, the Priest felt himself well repaid for any suffering 
he had endured in trying to reach his red children, the Chris- 
tian Indians at Lake Winnebago, for he found them, after his 
long absence, faithful to his teaching and happy to receive once 
more his priceless spiritual ministrations. All through the 
western part of Wisconsin, he ministered to the souls of the 
white men and of the red men of his former flock, and then 
returned, encouraged and consoled, to his new charge in 
Galena and in Dubuque. 

April of that year found him in Davenport, then a new city, 
where he began the erection of St. Anthony's church, which 
he had the happiness of seeing finished in the spring of 1838, 
and given to the care of a resident priest some time in 1839. 

On December 10, 1837, Rev. Mathias Loras was conse- 
■crated first Bishop of Dubuque. Soon after, he departed for 
Europe to secure pastors for the wide fields of his diocese. 
Father Mazzuchelli had been appointed Vicar General, an 
office he held for fifteen years, and was now empowered to 



GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 37 

act as administrator of the diocese during the Bishop's absence, 
which was prolonged by various causes until April, 1839. 

While in Rome, May, 1838, Bishop Loras requested the 
Master General of the Dominican Order to permit Father 
Mazzuchelli to continue his labors in the new diocese, com- 
prising all of Iowa and a part of Wisconsin, where he had 
already accomplished so much. The request was readily and 
cheerfully granted, with high esteem for both the prelate and 
the priest. That two bishops, not of his own nationality, should 
have been so energetic, at two periods of his life, in securing 
and in retaining Father Mazzuchelli's services spoke volumes 
for their value. The Master General was not slow in perceiv- 
ing this, nor wanting in generous acknowledgment. 

Verily, the young Missionary had made a diocese to which 
the new Bishop might be welcomed. Over its wide expanse 
were dispersed, among a much greater number of Protestants, 
three thousand five hundred Catholics. When Father Mazzu- 
chelli had come to them, in 1835, they were without church, 
priest, altar, sacraments, or evangelical teaching. He had 
since then built three churches for them, establishing among 
them, thereby, religious worship and the observance of divine 
and ecclesiastical precepts. He had also induced them, by 
the hundreds, to receive the sacraments regularly. He had 
preached to them the truths of Catholic doctrine and had 
given them familiar moral instructions, with visible and 
abundant fruit. He had lessened the prejudices and corrected 
the false ideas of Protestants regarding the dogmas and prac- 
tices of the Catholic Church, and among the numbers he had 
baptized, there were five adult Protestants and many children 
of non-Catholic parents. All this was sufficient, surely, 
to occupy the time, the zeal, the whole mind indeed, of one sole 
priest, isolated and without the least exterior aid. 

Though ignorant of each other's personality, Bishop Loras 
and Father Mazzuchelli had corresponded for two years re- 
garding the affairs of the diocese. When the former returned 
to America, the latter was most eager to meet him. With 
the hope, then, of accompanying him to Dubuque, for the 



38 GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 

Festival of Easter, the Father went, early in spring, down 
the Mississippi to St. Louis. He was warmly greeted by his 
kind friend. Bishop Rosati, who accompanied him on horse- 
back to a distant village, where Bishop Loras and Father J. 
Cretin were preaching a mission to people of French origin. 
In our after-knowledge of the two noble personalities, we feel 
certain that the meeting between the Missionary and his Bishop 
was, for both, the occasion of profound emotion. At once 
each must have recognized the exalted individuality of the 
other, and at once they loved each other, as did David and 
Jonathan. Then was formed that priestly and sacred friend- 
ship between them that enriched Hfe and ended only with 
death. Since he had to await his Bishop's convenience. Father 
Mazzuchelli was glad, perforce, to prolong his pleasant stay 
in the South. 

The venerable Bishop of St. Louis requested him to assist 
in celebrating in the Cathedral the solemn rites of Holy Week, 
and to preach on Good Friday. To spend Holy Week in a 
well-established cathedral parish, and to enjoy the society of 
a venerable bishop and several priests while serving a large 
congregation of intelligent and educated people, was a favor as 
unexpected as it was profoundly appreciated by the Priest, so 
accustomed to isolation and loneliness. Both mind and soul 
were refreshed. Moreover, his return to Dubuque was made 
glad by the thought that henceforth he would not be alone, 
that there would be other consecrated workers in the field, 
where he had been so long the only laborer. 

On April 21, 1838, he had the happiness of being present 
at the installation of the first Bishop of Dubuque. The occa- 
sion was celebrated with due solemnity, Rev. J. Cretin and 
Rev. A. Pelamourgues, the newly arrived missionaries, assist- 
ing in the ceremonies. Father Mazzuchelli preached an appro- 
priate sermon to a large audience of Catholics and Protestants. 
The spontaneous eloquence of the reverend orator, " proceed- 
ing from a heart stirred and overflowing with joy, stole into 
the hearts of his Christian hearers, awakening there a tender 
gratitude to God, who, in order to pour upon them more 




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GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 39 

copiously His infinite mercies, had in their church erected an 
Episcopal Chair." " Thus after four years of isolation and of 
various spiritual privations, the Missionary found himself sur- 
rounded by the sweet and edifying presence of other evangeli- 
cal workers, from whom he would be separated only during 
the space of a few months, when the duties of his ministry 
called him into the more remote parts of the vast diocese/' 
(Memoirs.) 

After the installation. Bishop Loras immediately set him 
at work superintending the construction of an episcopal resi- 
dence and the completion of the cathedral. Every Sunday he 
officiated and preached in Galena; every Monday he returned 
to Dubuque, to urge forward the work on the buildings. 
In May, he conducted spiritual exercises in St. Raphael's 
Cathedral, to prepare the people for the reception of the 
Sacrament of Confirmation, to be solemnized in their midst 
for the first time on the Feast of Pentecost. Thus he kept him- 
self constantly employed in work for God and souls, taking no 
rest and having no pity on his poor, wearied body. 

We are not surprised, then, that the Feast of the Assump- 
tion, August 15th, found the Father too ill, of a malignant 
fever, to be present at the consecration of the cathedral, though 
it was truly the crowning of his own hard and lonely labor, 
begun long before there was any thought of a bishop coming 
to Dubuque. The cause of his failing health is not far to 
seek. We will quote from his Memoirs. 

" The State of Illinois, in 1838, employed several hundred 
workmen in the construction of a railway that was to extend 
from Galena to the junction of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, 
that is, across the entire state, from the northern extremity to 
the most southern border. The greater number of the work- 
men in the vicinity of Galena were Irish and German Catholics. 
Unfortunately, intermittent fever prevailed among them that 
year, and many of the poor laborers lost their lives. It was 
thought that the chief cause of this fever was the high water 
which had that summer inundated numerous small islands in 
the Mississippi, and a considerable part of the low grounds 



40 GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 

contiguous to the river. When the waters subsided, in the 
month of August, the decayed vegetation sent forth a deadly 
odor which permeated the atmosphere, creating widespread 
disease. Whatever the cause may have been, there were fever 
patients in almost every house, and within two or three months 
nearly one hundred and fifty persons died." 

The Missionary was called at all hours of the day and night 
to visit the sick, often ten, twenty or thirty miles distant from 
his house. In those sections, as in all missionary countries, 
the Viaticum was carried in a pyx, or little gilt box, which was 
worn suspended from the priest's neck, and concealed under 
his outer garments ; in this way the Missionary often had 
resting upon his heart, for several days and nights, the Most 
Adorable Mystery of our Faith. Such a device becomes 
necessary in non-Catholic countries, in order not to expose 
the Holy of Holies to the contempt of unbelievers. It was 
a similar motive which induced the first Christians to make 
a secret of their belief and not to reveal publicly to the pagans 
the doctrine of the Eucharist. 

During this dangerous epidemic, the Priest, on his visits 
to the sick, had always to be provided with the Most Holy 
Sacrament for the dying, to whom he was often unexpectedly 
summoned while passing along near the public works. The 
houses temporarily put up to receive the poor day laborers 
consisted of one room, in which they slept, twenty or thirty 
together; and so destitute of help were they, that many, no 
doubt, died of starvation. Great was the Priest's consolation 
to find in some of them, stretched upon straw, dying, abandoned 
by all the world and in direst misery, a rare piety, the fruit 
of a Christian life. 

On the other hand, who can express the deep spiritual joy 
of those souls on beholding near them God's priest, with his 
power to give them absolution, after hearing their last confes- 
sion; God's priest, from whose consecrated hands they might 
receive the Holy Viaticum and the healing Sacrament of Ex- 
treme Unction. So often, indeed, did the devoted missionary 
find himself the unexpected bearer of grace and joy to the 




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GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 41 

dying, he exclaims, '' Truly does the dear Lord know His 
friends, and never does He forget them. All else may fail, 
but God never fails those who hope in His infinite goodness 
and mercy ! " And in proof of this, the Father tells that on 
one occasion, when he had carried the Holy Eucharist to the 
dying, he found it necessary to divide the last sacred particle 
he had in the pyx into four parts, that he might give the 
Viaticum to three other loving souls, who had ardently desired 
but had not dared to hope for it, thinking there was not a 
priest within many miles of them. 

In the autumn of 1839, Bishop Loras had ordained to the 
priesthood the three seminarians whom he had brought from 
Europe; one of them, the Reverend Father Remigius Petiot, 
a native of France, was sent by him to Galena, as assistant 
to our Missionary, who thus found himself at liberty to go, 
with an easy mind, to other parts of the vast diocese where his 
services were greatly needed. 

In the month of November, he traveled by land to the new 
city of Davenport, where Reverend Father A. Pelamourgues 
had been stationed as pastor. Thence, continuing his journey 
he arrived at the city of Burlington, which is, by the usual 
road, about one hundred and eighty miles from Dubuque, and 
like the latter, had its origin in 1833. Its situation on the 
great river was a promise of its future growth and importance. 

The territorial government of Iowa held its sittings that 
year in the Methodist Church at Burlington, a fact that the 
Father did not forget at a later day. Although the rising city 
estimated its population at about two thousand persons, the 
Missionary succeeded, after many inquiries, in finding among 
them only twenty-^even Catholics, and some of these were from 
the surrounding country. The first Mass in Burlington was 
celebrated in the cabin of a German Catholic family on the 
17th of December, 1839. After offering the divine mysteries 
the priest, turning to speak to the congregation, and seeing 
so small a number of the faithful present, found, in the sweet 
words of the Redeemer, " Fear not, little flock, for it hath 
pleased your Father to give you a Kingdom," (Luke xii, 32), 



42 GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 

the subject of a sermon that was a great consolation to his 
listeners, and a potent medicine for his own heart, that felt so 
keenly the grievous spiritual privations of his people. On this 
occasion he also visited some Catholics residing about twelve 
miles from Burlington, and administered the sacraments to 
them, after which he returned to Davenport. 

In order to render as useful as possible so long a journey 
in the depth of an unusually cold winter, everywhere that a 
favorable occasion presented itself, he preached the Catholic 
doctrine, always supplementing his sermon, however, with 
those moral reflections which tended to make his efforts more 
persuasive. In a village called Rockingham, he had, for two 
evenings, a very large audience of Protestants, who instead 
of being offended at hearing their objections to the Church 
explained away and the contradictions of their own religious 
belief clearly presented, took the greater liking to him for his 
kindly efforts to enlighten them. A similar impression was 
made at Savanna, a small village in the State of Illinois. In 
the summer of that year, he preached several times, in various 
localities, before large assemblies in the open air, under the 
shade of his favorite tree, the majestic oak, and most encour- 
aging were the effects and results of these impromptu 
meetings. 

Among others, who received the ministrations of the Mis- 
sionary at this time, were several Irish families that had settled 
in a place twenty miles from Dubuque called Maquoketa, from 
a river that waters it. These people, trying so earnestly to 
earn the bread denied them in their persecuted native land, 
had a peculiar attraction for the tender-hearted Priest, and he 
thought it his duty, in the beginning of the year 1840, to return 
to this place and endeavor to erect there a small church. Be- 
cause of the abundance of timber in the vicinity, he decided 
to build the edifice of that material. He distributed among 
the forty-two men who lived in the neighborhood of the little 
tow)n the work of preparing, during the long winter, a great 
number of beams, from twenty to forty feet in length. In 
spring each man brought to the site of the church the work 



. GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 43 

of his hands, and as they were not able to help with money, 
these faithful people contributed, in various ways by labor, 
to lighten the cost of building their church. Bishop Loras, 
from the benefactions of the Propagation of the Faith in 
Europe, paid the sum of six hundred dollars for materials and 
for wages to workmen. The church, when completed, was 
dedicated to St. Patrick, the apostle of Ireland, and became 
the pride and joy of the devoted people, who could feel that its 
erection was entirely due to their own self-sacrificing labor. 

The excellent results that followed this feeble beginning 
were most encouraging, for the number of Catholics, who 
settled in the neighborhood of the church, was so great that 
in a very short time the ground surrounding it, on which were 
built many pleasant homes, had all been sold. When the 
first service was held in the little church, in the summer of 
1840, there were not more than a hundred Catholics in the 
congregation ; three years later, the parish of St. Patrick, reg- 
ularly served by the zealous priest. Rev. J. C. Perrodin, had 
a school, and its congregation numbered six hundred souls. 
" It is a fact to be zealously considered," wrote Father Maz- 
zuchelli, " that a church in the wilderness, where service is 
held at least occasionally, becomes in the western states a 
point of reunion for Catholics, especially for the Irish and 
Germans, who thus form regular colonies." " For this reason 
there are many places in America which are called Irish set- 
tlements and German settlements, where the homes of the 
people are always to be found clustered around the church, 
the nucleus of the village, or of the future city." 

It would be a weariness to the reader to attempt a minute 
account of the frequent journeys, many hundreds of miles in 
length, that were made by the priest, in 1840, on the Missis- 
sippi River and by land. We will be content with speaking 
of two churches that were built by him simultaneously, though 
in districts quite distant from each other. 

It has been stated already that, in 1839, Bishop Loras laid 
the corner-stone of the Church of the Archangel Gabriel at 
Prairie du Chien, in the Wisconsin Territory. The work on 



44 GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 

this building, which had ceased for a few months, was resumed 
in 1840, and Father Mazzuchelli, as architect and superintend- 
ent, found it advisable to repair to the place, several times 
during the year, to direct the workmen, and to incite the con- 
gregation to lessen the cost, by contributing the necessary ma- 
terials. To procure the rock required for a building measuring 
50 by 100 feet, the men of the parish worked in the stone 
quarries, and the reverend superintendent assisted them. It 
was the month of June, and the weather was unusually warm, 
yet the devoted Priest continued this severe toil for a number 
of days, thus inspiring the people, by giving them an efficacious 
example of unselfish love for souls and of great zeal for the 
glory of God's house. However, in spite of his earnest efforts 
and the people's generous co-operation, the work could not 
have been completed had not Bishop Loras come to the rescue 
by nobly sharing, with this distant congregation, the money 
contributed to the needs of his episcopal city by the Propa- 
gandas of France and Rome. With fourteen hundred dollars 
given him by his right reverend friend, and with the materials 
gathered by the people, to say nothing of the results of his 
own labors, the Missionary was enabled to complete the pretty 
stone church that was so long the principal building in the 
village of Prairie du Chien. 

The erection of one church in a year was not, it would 
seem, commensurate with Father Mazzuchelli's capacity for 
work, for in the city of Burlington, Iowa Territory, a Mis- 
sissippi River town, about three hundred miles from Prairie 
du Chien, he planned another church and superintended its 
construction in that same year. He could remain at his work 
only a few days at a time, being obliged to go to and fro, 
repeatedly, between Burlington and his missions at Mineral 
Point, Dodgeville and ShuUsburg. But without much delay 
the church was built, and his heart was full of consolation 
when he beheld it, happily completed, on a beautiful eminence 
in the heart of the young city. The number of the faithful 
in this town had been so small, their surroundings so full of 
non-Catholic, if not anti-Catholic, influences, and their spiritual 



GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 45 

advantages so meager, that his heart had yearned over 
them with sadness and anxiety; it was now correspond- 
ingly relieved, and he rejoiced at the thought of the many 
precious religious opportunities St. Paul's church would afford 
his beloved people. It was built of brick, and had a basement 
intended for a priest's dwelling and for a school. The location 
was very desirable, though the most elevated part of the land 
secured for parish buildings had been reserved for a future 
church of greater size, to be built when the Catholic popula- 
tion of the growing city should increase. 

In the autumn of 1840, Bishop Loras departed from 
Dubuque to make a visit to his old home in Mobile, Alabama, 
and Father Mazzuchelli, his Vicar, accompanied him as far as 
Burlington, where the Bishop took the boat which was to 
convey him to his destination. The Vicar was left in charge 
of the diocese until the spring of the following year. On their 
way to Burlington, the Bishop and his companion had visited 
several Catholic congregations and had ministered to them. 
Among these were the people of a little village called Charles- 
ton, situated on the western bank of the Mississippi. 

After taking leave of the Bishop, the Priest repaired to the 
beautiful city of Davenport. The people having expressed a 
wish to hear an exposition of the principal points of Catholic 
belief contested by Protestants, he devoted himself for eight 
nights to satisfying their laudable desire. The fruit of these 
lectures was the establishment of friendly relations between 
the Catholics and their Protestant neighbors, and the efface- 
ment of much of the prejudice that everywhere existed against 
the Church. 

Being informed that government land was to be sold, in 
the rising capital of the state, for church purposes at very 
low prices. Father Mazzuchelli hastened from Burlington to 
Iowa City, in December, 1840, and, depositing $2,000 with 
the proper persons, secured, by an Act of Legislature, one of 
the best lots in the town. 

The Holy Sacrifice was offered for the first time in Iowa 
City, on December 20th by Father Mazzuchelli, in the house 



46 GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 

of a German mechanic. In the evening of the same day he 
preached in the dining-hall of a small hotel, and on the fol- 
lowing morning, he offered Mass ten miles outside the city, 
in the unfurnished log-cabin of an Irish laborer. Christmas 
and its succeeding holidays were spent in ministering to the 
people of Galena and Dubuque, after which he returned to 
Burlington. 

On the lot that had been secured in Iowa City, in 1840, 
the erection of a church was begun the following year; the 
corner-stone was laid on July 12th by Bishop Loras; in tHe 
summer of 1842 Father Mazzuchelli had the edifice ready 
for divine service. In the mean time, he had said Mass, heard 
confessions, and preached many sermons in private houses. 
He had also given controversial discourses before large audi- 
ences of many creeds in a hall that served between whiles as 
a court of justice. At Bloomington and Bellevue, towns on 
the western side of the Mississippi, between Dubuque and 
Davenport, he built small wooden churches that were dedicated 
in that year under the patronage of St. Matthew and St. 
Andrew. 

Some time in the previous year a pretty little frame church, 
dedicated under the patronage of St. Matthew, had been erected 
in Shullsburg, a small town in the lead region of Wisconsin. 
The pieces of timber of which the edifice was constructed had 
been prepared and wrought by carpenters in Galena, and then 
transported to Shullsburg, where several workmen speedily 
put them together on a plot of land in the midst of the homes 
of the Irish miners, whose generous contributions from their 
slender earnings paid the entire expense. 

His frequent journeys and many fatiguing labors caused 
Father Mazzuchelli, in the summer of 1842, to be attacked at 
Iowa City by a serious illness which threatened his life. After 
a slow recovery, though still weak and easily wearied, he 
devoted himiself throughout the winter to the organizing of 
St. Paul's parish at Burlington. While in that city he preached 
dogmatic sermons every Sunday evening to audiences including 
not only Catholics but Protestant lawyers, judges and ministers. 



GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 47 

Everything concerning religion was of vital interest to him, and 
his zeal for the spiritual welfare of persons outside the Church 
was indefatigable, hence we are not surprised to learn that, 
desiring to see and converse with the famous prophet, Joseph 
Smith, founder of the Mormon sect, he paid a visit in February, 
1843, to Nauvoo, Illinois, where the heresiarch had his resi- 
dence. To Father Mazzuchelli '' the prophet " portrayed the 
entire system of Mormonism, giving a history of its origin and 
progress, and an explanation of its principal tenets, all of which 
Father Mazzuchelli discussed with him, but, so far as any one 
knows, without making any lasting impression upon his dark- 
ened mind. 

Having made his glad return to a more wholesome atmos- 
phere, the Missionary remained in Burlington until the first 
week of Lent, when he set out for Galena. Part of this journey 
was made in a sleigh on the frozen Mississippi. The cold was 
intense, the thermometer showing, as the average daily tem- 
perature, ten degrees below zero. We have seen the Father 
taking so many journeys under equally distressing circum- 
stances that we, like the people of his time, take it as a matter 
of course that he should do these things, and give no thought 
to the possible effect. And yet, successive winters of such 
exposure, with laborious summers in between, must have been 
a tremendous strain on even the strongest constitution. He 
was not given, however, to the consideration of health, to the 
skirking of difficulties, or to the shunning of hardships ; and 
besides, he was hastening to a new work that had presented 
itself to his mind, and he would not delay to count the cost. 

The Irish and German farmers and miners at Sinsinawa 
Mound, Wisconsin, had need of a church, and it was in keep- 
ing with Father Mazzuchelli's decisive promptness that he 
should have one ready for them that very summer of 1842. 
It was built according to his own design, and he named it 
after St. Augustine. This was the Father's first footprint, 
as it were, on the sands of those more important paths that he 
was to tread during the succeeding twenty years. The parish- 
ioners of St. Augustine's church had been aided by their Prot- 



48 GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 

estant neighbors, who had generously contributed towards the 
payment of the debt incurred for its construction. A beautiful 
eminence near " the Mound " had been chosen for its loca- 
tion. The pretty little frame structure made a very attractive 
appearance, and was frequented by a goodly number of farmers 
and miners with their families. This was the simple beginning 
of a great work, the initial letter as it were of a great prophecy. 

Weakened by a recent serious illness, and wearied by years 
of strenuous labor, besides frequent and difficult journeys, 
Father Mazzuchelli began to realize that his health was becom- 
ing seriously impaired. For this reason he did not remonstrate 
when his physician, seconded by his friends, urged him to take 
a trip to Europe. This trip was really taken, however, with 
more important objects in view than a restoration to health. 
The cordial consent of the Bishop to his request for leave of 
absence strengthened his purpose, and so he hastened his prepa- 
rations, and departed after Easter, 1843, ^^^ Milan, Italy. 

Being at that time quite unprovided with funds he relied on 
Providence for the payment of his expenses. The parishioners, 
persuaded that the journey was not taken for selfish reasons, 
but for the welfare of souls, thought it their duty to assist in 
furthering the good work by contributing to it a sum of money, 
which was certainly a God-send to the Priest. Bishop Loras, 
being obliged to repair to the city of Baltimore in order to 
assist at the Triennial Council of the Bishops of the United 
States, took his Vicar w:ith him to serve as his theologian at 
that solemn assembly, and thus was the priest, without expense 
to himself, speeded onward in his journey to the seaboard. 

On the sixteenth day of April, after baptizing two converts 
from the Anglican Church, Father Mazzuchelli, leaving Galena, 
went down the Mississippi by boat, and landed four days later 
at the city of St. Louis. There he met the Bishop and they 
embarked on a beautiful steamboat which speedily carried 
them to Cincinnati. The freedom with which religion was dis- 
cussed, according to the custom in America, kept the Mission- 
ary quite occupied, during the entire journey, in satisfying the 
demands of those who, through curiosity or a desire for 



GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 49 

instruction, wished to know something about the true doctrine 
of the Church. 

At Cincinnati the Bishop and his companion changed boats 
for the city of WheeHng, from which point they traveled by 
stage to Cumberland, where they took the train. In eight 
hours, including delays at the various stations, they alighted 
in the city of Baltimore. The population of Baltimore was esti- 
mated, at that time, to be about one hundred and sixty thousand 
souls ; forty or fifty thousand were said to be Catholics ; there 
were ten churches besides the cathedral, which was not then 
completed. Father Mazzuchelli describes, in the following 
terms, the great event that called them to Baltimore : 

'* The Provincial Council of 1843 was opened on the four- 
teenth day of May ; the procession of priests, in number about 
forty, and of fourteen Bishops with the Archbishop, Most 
Rev. Samuel Eccleston, all vested in sacred garb, according 
to their rank, issued from the Archbishop's house, and, having 
made the circuit of the exterior inclosure, entered the church 
through the large door and took their places in the Sanctuary. 
A Pontifical High Mass was chanted, followed by the sing- 
ing of the Veni Creator, after which the opening of the Council 
was formally announced. The Bishops held their private ses- 
sions every morning for a week in the house of the Metro- 
politan ; in the afternoon they came into the sanctuary of 
the cathedral, where were present the theologians of each 
diocese and the superiors of the regular orders in America. 
The theologians who had accompanied the Bishops were 
divided, for the considerations of questions, into companies of 
five. The questions to be discussed were proposed, one to 
each company, by the Right Reverend Promoter of the Council. 
Each theologian presented in writing, at the next meeting, his 
discussion of the question assigned him. All the answers to 
one 'question were debated before another question was con- 
sidered. Every one was free to say what he thought ; in this 
way the various points of ecclesiastical discipline were dis- 
cussed freely by the theologians in the presence of the prelates, 
who in their private sessions set forth the decrees of the Coun- 



50 GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 

cil. On the fifth Sunday after Easter, May 21st, the order of 
the procession of the preceding Sunday was repeated, and the 
Pontifical Mass being over, the Bishops, in cope and mitre, 
beginning with the oldest in the episcopate, passed, one after 
the other, to the gospel side of the altar, where, with his own 
hand, each subscribed to the decrees, after which the Te Deum 
was sung. The erection of new episcopal sees and the choice 
of their Bishops constituted an important matter for considera- 
tion; in fact, it was the most interesting subject considered at 
the Triennial Council of that year. All the acts of the Council 
were, of course, subject to pontifical approval." 

Providence prepared for our Missionary a rare traveling 
companion across the ocean, in the person of the Rt. Rev. G. 
Chabrat, Coadjutor Bishop of Kentucky, who was going to 
France. Therefore, after embracing the most worthy Bishop 
Loras, of Dubuque, the Father left Baltimore, on the 226. of 
May, going by rail to Philadelphia, and departing for New 
York the following day. At three in the afternoon, on the 
25th of May, Feast of the Ascension, Bishop Chabrat and his 
companion embarked in the steamship Great Western, and 
before night the land of America was lost to view. 

On June the 5th the coast of Ireland was visible, and on 
the 7th, at six o'clock in the morning, Bishop Chabrat and 
the Missionary landed in the city of Liverpool. That same day 
they entered London, where Father Mazzuchelli was deeply 
impressed by human grandeur carried to its height and human 
misery reaching its lowest depths. On the 14th of the 
month they arrived at Paris, where the Bishop, as if aware 
that his companion had not sufficient means, paid all the Mis- 
sionary's expenses from Liverpool to Milan. After a brief 
stay at Paris, Lyons and Turin, Father Mazzuchelli found 
himself in his native city on the Feast Day of Saints Peter and 
Paul. His joy may be left to the imagination of the reader. 
The real object of his visit and the success that attended it 
become known to the reader in the course of certain chapters 
that follow. 

Before entering upon that period which forms a new and 













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Minims' Rock Sixsixawa 






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On the South Slope of the Mound 

' We hail in each rock a friend's famihar face, 
And clasp the mound in our mind's embrace." 



GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 51 

distinct era in Father Mazzuchelli's life, let us briefly sum- 
marize the principal events of previous years. The following 
statements and the dates that appear in it are taken from a 
brief journal written by the Father himself. 

Samuel Charles Mazzuchelli was born in Milan, Italy, on 
November 4, 1806. H;e received the Dominican habit in 1823, 
taking the name of Brother Augustine, and made his solemn 
profession as a Dominican religious at the Dominican Convent, 
in the city of Faenza, Italy, December 6, 1824. 

He was then sent to Santa Sabina, the Dominican monas- 
tery in Rome, to continue his studies under the most favorable 
circumstances. To Santa Sabina came Rt. Rev. E. Fenwick, 
O. P., who, in speaking of America to his brethren, deplored 
the small number of laborers in the missionary fields of the 
western territories. Noting the intelligent interest of the 
young religious, Brother Augustine, the Bishop begged the 
Master General to permit the zealous young man to become a 
missionary in the Diocese of Cincinnati. 

On the 30th of May, 1828, Brother Augustine left Rome 
intending to depart immediately for the United States, but did 
not sail until October 5 of that year. In the mean time he 
visited his home in Milan and spent two months at a convent 
in France, acquiring a knowledge of the French language. 

He arrived in America November 14th, being then a 
sub-deacon. He was ordained deacon in St. Joseph's Church 
Somerset, Ohio, by Rt. Rev. E. Fenwick, O.P., in June, 1830, 
and by him was ordained priest in September of the same year 
in Cincinnati. In October the Bishop sent him as missionary 
to the Island of Mackinac, Michigan. From there he traveled 
at stated intervals to the missions of Green Bay, of Prairie du 
Chien, and of other parts of Wisconsin, teaching the tribes of 
Menominee, Chippewa, and Winnebago Indians, and training 
them to become practical Catholics. 

In 1836 he came to labor in the western part of the Terri- 
tory of Wisconsin, in Galena, Illinois, and in Dubuque, Iowa 
Territory. In 1843 ^^ P^i^ ^ visit to Milan, his native city. 
After having traveled in Tyrol, in England, and in France, 



52 GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 

also through Italy to Rome, he returned to the United States 
on August I, 1844, and arrived at Galena September 12 of 
the same year. Here he met General Jones and purchased the 
Sinsinawa property. With this purchase Father Mazzuchelli's 
circumstances and designs changed materially, and his life 
began to flow in new channels. 

He had lost none of his energy, however, and his love for 
hard work had not grown cold. In the course of the winter 
of 1844 the wooden church erected at Sinsinawa in 1842, on 
the southeast corner of the present church property, was taken 
apart and the materials moved up to " the Mound." By April, 
1845, it had been put together again with such care and skill 
as to show no marks of the rebuilding it had undergone. The 
painting and plastering were finished on August 2d, and the 
church was solemnly blessed on August 3d, by Rt. Rev. John 
M. Henni, first Bishop of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The name 
was changed on that occasion from St. Augustine's to St. 
Dominic's church. There was a large attendance of people 
from the surrounding country, and from the cities of Galena 
and Dubuque. 

The Feast of St. Dominic was celebrated on the following 
day with all the solemnity possible to time and place. Father 
Mazzuchelli sang the High Mass, at which Bishop Henni and 
eight priests were present — a wonderful assembly for those 
days. Such a number of clergymen had never before been 
seen together in any one place in the Territory of Wisconsin, 
or in that of Iowa. 

Their presence, and that of the Bishop, on the occasion 
of the dedication of a little country church, and the celebration 
of its patronal feast day, spoke volumes for the esteem in 
which they held Father Mazzuchelli. In response to his invi- 
tation, they had come from a distance, in spite of the many 
difficulties that traveling then presented in the territories of 
the Northwest, to encourage the zealous priest, whose worth 
they recognized, and to give evidence of their high regard for 
the man whose sterling character and scholarly attainments 
they so sincerely admired. 



GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 53 

That first celebration of August 4tli at Sinsinawa, inaugu- 
rated a long series of such events, for it has been renewed 
annually from that day, in 1845, to this, in 1904. For almost 
two decades the Dominican Fathers and their pupils, students 
of "Sinsinawa College for Boys," made the day glad; for 
almost four decades the Dominican Sisters and their pupils, 
students of " St. Clara's Academy for Girls," have continued 
to make the Feast of St. Dominic an occasion of thankfulness 
and great joy. 

That first tribute of love and honor paid to the great 
Founder of the Dominican Order, on the historic Mound, 
seems to have won his powerful patronage for the beautiful 
spot where the homage was offered. He then made it his 
own, and though the vicissitudes of time have spared neither 
it nor the institutions that at various dates have made it their 
home, yet St. Dominic has never relinquished his claim ; rather 
has he continued to strengthen it by increasing there the work 
and the number of his children. The solemn blessing of St. 
Dominic's Church, and the solemn celebration of St. Dominic's 
day, in 1845, was the first step towards the accomplishment 
of a great work, the beginning of a steady progress towards 
the realization of lofty educational and religious ideals. 




CHAPTER III 

FATHER MAZZUCHELLI, RELIGIOUS AND EDU- 
CATIONAL FOUNDER 

Having learned by his own experience the urgent need of 
missionary priests in the thinly settled parts of the vast West- 
ern territories, and foreseeing that, even in those places hav- 
ing resident pastors, it would be desirable, from time to time, 
to have religious exercises conducted by missionaries. Father 
Mazzuchelli conceived the idea of founding, at Sinsinawa, 
a Dominican Missionary House, from which priests might go 
forth to do every kind of missionary work. 

Connected with this house, he purposed having a college 
for the education and religious training of the young men of 
the broad region extending north and west of Galena and 
Dubuque. 

Furthermore, he had formed the intention of establishing a 
community of Dominican Sisters, for the teaching of day 
schools and the conducting of academies for the education 
of girls. 

It was his idea to found a community that, while practicing 
the Dominican rule and obeying the Dominican authorities, 
should consist of members gathered from that part of the 
country wherein they were to labor. Such persons would 
better understand the needs and the spirit of the people they 
were to aid and to edify. Thus the young community, 
indigenous to the soil, would grow as the great West grew, 
becoming inspired with its spirit, adapted to its intellectual 
requirements, a part, as it were, of itself, and identified with 
its religious and educational progress. 

No branch community, from a trunk, however worthy, 
having root in a different soil, absorbing a different atmos- 
phere, and growing amid different surroundings, would have 

54 



GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 55 

answered the requirements of Father Mazzuchelh's far-reach- 
ing idea. And so we shall find, when we read the history of 
the community, that of those few persons, devotedly good and 
earnest though they were, who came from distant convents to 
join the little band, only one remained. She had a thorough 
knowledge of religious training, of conventual discipline, and of 
the Dominican traditions; she imparted this knowledge to the 
young community, and herself imbibed from them and their 
holy director that peculiar spirit which was ever to distinguish 
Father Mazzuchelh's Sisterhood, and to stamp it as a distinct 
religious institute, having a character and a personality that 
would forever mark it as the special creation, under God, of 
a great mind and noble heart. It was to be of native growth, 
not the transplanted cutting from another's tree, however 
majestic or fruitful. 

With these ideas occupying his thoughts, with the design 
of his new work already outlined in his mind, he made the 
European trip to which we have already referred, and while 
at the Dominican monastery of Santa Sabina, in Rome, com- 
municated all his plans to the Master General of the Dominican 
Order, the Most Rev. Father Thomas Ancarani, who gave 
his plans a full and cordial approval, and conferred upon him 
the discretionary powers he would require in the fulfillment 
of his important undertakings. The Master General himself 
suggested that, as the work progressed, and as various unfore- 
seen exigencies arose. Father Mazzuchelli should apply to the 
Superiors in Rome for advice and for the support of their 
authority, thus securing for his institutes pennanent stability, 
and an unbroken union with the chief house and highest 
Superiors of the Order. Letters and documents preserved 
in the archives at St. Clara Convent prove that, at every 
important crisis in his work as a founder. Father Mazzu- 
chelli responded to that suggestion, and never failed to receive 
from Most Rev. Father Thomas Ancarani, and his successor, 
Most Rev. Father A. V. Jandel, prompt, sympathetic, and 
efficient support. 

On his return from Europe to America it happened, in the 



56 GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 

providence of God, that Father Mazzuchelli met, in Galena, 
Illinois, on September 12, 1844, Colonel George W. Jones, the 
owner of the beautiful property called Sinsinawa Mound, and 
finding him disposed to sell it, purchased it with part of the 
funds that had been given him by his relatives, at the time of his 
recent visit to his home, in Milan, Italy. '' The object of such 
purchase," we find recorded in Father Mazzuchelli's own 
writing, "is to prepare the way for a religious community of 
missionaries of the Order of St. Dominic, I having to that 
effect received all the necessary faculties while in Rome. On 
this property is also to be located, if such shall be the will 
of God, a great college, not merely to instruct children in all 
literary branches, but principally to educate them in the fear 
of God." 

This estate, situated in Grant County, Wisconsin Terri- 
tory, comprised eight hundred acres, and was purchased for 
six thousand five hundred dollars. General Jones, then a 
Colonel, U. S. A., delivered the deed to Rev. S. Mazzuchelli, 
on October 3, 1844, in the town of Galena, Illinois, before a 
duly authorized lawyer, and received the sum of two thousand 
three hundred and forty dollars in cash and four thousand one 
hundred and sixty dollars in promissory notes. These notes 
were paid in five installments, with interest, November 4 
and 25, 1844; March 8, 24, and 28, 1845. Father Mazzu- 
chelli writes of them, " The payment of the notes due on the 
Sinsinawa property has been a work of much uneasiness ; 
only an unbounded confidence in Divine Providence could 
cheer one's mind under such circumstances." His earnest 
appeals to his friends in Milan had their effect. His sister, 
Josephine, " a holy virgin of Christ " he calls her, and his 
generous friend, Count James Mallerio, a jeweler, sent him 
the greater part of the sum required ; from Rome, and from 
a friend in Wisconsin, he received the balance ; thus did March 
28, 1845, fi^'i the estate free from debt. 

Towards the erection of St. Dominic's Church, at Sinsinawa, 
he had paid, from his personal funds, six hundred dollars ; also 
for vestments, sacred vessels, and other altar furnishings, six 




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GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 57 

hundred dollars ; the balance of the debt on the church was 
paid by the generous contributions of the struggling and hard- 
working miners and farmers, who were ever ready, as far as 
their small means permitted, to aid their beloved spiritual 
Father in his noble undertakings. 

The first one to join Father Mazzuchelli in his work at 
Sinsinawa was Brother Joseph Polking, a native of Germany, 
a man of simple earnestness and fervent zeal, who endeared 
himself to Father Mazzuchelli by his many excellent qualities, 
and rendered him great service in the humble duties of the 
small* establishment. Others joined the Brotherhood, from 
time to time, and members were received into the First Order, 
which comprises priests only. 

In 1846 the east wing of the college building was com- 
pleted. It was built of limestone rock, quarried on the prop- 
erty, and was commodious and comfortable, far beyond what 
was common in the West at that time. The institution was 
incorporated, March 11, 1848, with university privileges, by a 
special act of the Legislature. Having a corps of excellent 
professors, under the presidency of the scholarly Father Mazzu- 
chelli, Sinsinawa College had the approval of the local Church 
authorities, and the confidence of parents whose sons, men in 
distinguished walks of life, have been heard to boast that they 
were educated there. 

Before closing this chapter it may be well to note Father 
Mazzuchelli's relations with Rome, and the ready recognition 
he received when presenting petitions to either the Pope or 
to the IMaster General. 

In view of his foundations at Sinsinawa, the documents 
that follow will prove interesting. While in Rome, in 1843, 
he presented the following petition to His Holiness, through 
the Master General of the Order of Preachers, and received 
the appended response : 



58 GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS, 

PETITION 

" To our Most Holy Father: 

" The General of the Order of Preachers humbly represents 
to you that Father Samuel Mazzuchelli of said Order, Vicar 
of the Bishop of Dubuque for fifteen years, Missionary in the 
United States of Almerica since 1828, desires to establish an 
independent House of Novices of the Order of St. Dominic, in 
the city of Galena, Diocese of Chicago, therefore, prostrate 
at the feet of Your Holiness, he asks for this undertaking the 
Apostolic Authority. Because of the scarcity of priests in these 
missions, he likewise requests the faculty of permitting the 
novices of said novitiate to sleep outside the convent, and to 
perform the duties of a missionary, when their Superior shall 
deem it necessary. 

" Finally, he asks of Your Holiness permission for these 
religious to wear a garb or habit similar to that of the secular 
Catholic clergy of the United States." 

RESPONSE TO THE PETITION 

** At an audience, on November 16, 1843, the Holy Father, 
Gregory XVI., by Divine Providence Pope, referred the above 
petition to me, the Secretary of the Sacred Congregation of 
the Faith. 

'* Having considered this petition, and the conditions of 
place and circumstances set forth in the document of the 
supplicant, we graciously grant all his petitions. 

" Neither the Bishops nor the Constitutions of the Order 
shall interfere with these things unless His Holiness expressly 
repeals them. 

" Given at Rome, from the Office of the Sacred Congrega- 
tion, on the day and in the year stated above. 

" Joannes Brunelli, Secretary." 

A copy of the original was given to Father Mazzuchelli by 
Father Maria Spada, Master of Theology, and Socius of the 
Master General of the Order of Preachers. 



GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 59 

To render the Missionary's position doubly secure, and his 
union with the Order clearly apparent, through the authority 
manifested in his regard by his superiors in Rome, the Master 
General sent him, soon after his purchase of the Mound prop- 
erty, the following document: 

" From Father Angelo Dominico Ancarani, humble Master 
General of the Order of Preachers. 

** The worthy religious of our Order, Rev. Father Samuel 
Mazzuchelli, for many years consecrated to the propagation of 
our most holy Catholic Faith in the United States of North 
America, announcing the truths of the Gospel to the savages 
of that land and bathing their souls in the holy water of 
Baptism, having the necessary faculties from the Holy See, has 
returned to his work as Apostolic Minister with the idea of 
founding a new missionary establishment dedicated to the 
conversion of non-Catholics and of pagan savages, also to the 
instruction of Catholics and the administration of the Sacra- 
ments to the faithful living in that part of the country. 

" On this account we recommend him to the kindness of 
the Faithful that they may help him in every way suggested 
by their zeal for the Catholic Faith and their love for their 
neighbor. 

" Given at our convent of Santa Maria sopra Minerva, in 
Rome, loth of January, 1844. 

(Signed '' Father Angelo Ancarani, 

'* Master General of the Order of Preachers. 
" Father Maria Spada, 

" Master of Theology^ and Socius," 

Finding that Galena was not a suitable place for his new 
foundation Father Mazzuchelli applied to Rome for permission 
to establish it at Sinsinawa. As usual, the Master General 
made the petition in his behalf. 



6o GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 

PETITION 

" Most Boly Father: 

" Father Samuel Mazzuchelli of the Order of Preachers, 
Missionary in the United States of America, Commissary Pro- 
vincial of the New Province of St. Charles, of the Western 
States of the Union, received faculties, in 1843, to establish a 
Novitiate House of his Order in the city of Galena, state of 
Illinois. Not finding it convenient to establish this house in 
Galena, he humbly supplicates your Holiness to accord him 
the faculty to transfer said Novitiate to the Diocese of Mil- 
waukee, in the Territory of Wisconsin, or to other parts of 
Western America. 

" He hopes to obtain this favor for the good of the Church 
and the spread of the Faith." 

RESPONSE 

" Having had an audience, on July 6, 1845, with our Holy 
Father Gregory XVI., by Divine Providence Pope, the above 
petition was referred to the Secretary of the Holy Congrega- 
tion of the Propagation of the Faith. Having been duly con- 
sidered, the above petition is graciously granted. Against it 
no one whatever may offer opposition. 

" Given at Rome from the Office of the Sacred Congrega- 
tion, day and year, as above. 

" Joannes, Archb. of Thessalonica, Secretary." 





Winter — Sinsinawa Park 



CHAPTER IV 

THE ESTABLISHMENT OF FATHER MAZZUCHEL- 

LFS COMMUNITY OF DOMINICAN SISTERS 

AT SINSINAWA, WISCONSIN 

When Rt. Rev. John Martin Henni was consecrated Bishop 
of Milwaukee, March 19, 1844, there were no Sisters in the 
Territory of Wisconsin. Miss Mary McNulty, a native of 
Baltimore, a woman of great ability and determined will, was 
engaged in works of charity in Cincinnati, when Bishop Henni, 
whose home was in that city, departed for his diocese in Wis- 
consin. It occurred to her that her services, as nurse or teacher, 
might be acceptable in Milwaukee, where she supposed there 
were no Sisters. She arrived there to find the religious of Notre 
Dame recently installed and already at work in the field of 
charity and education. There remained for her no choice but 
to seek employment elsewhere. 

She secured a country school two miles from East Dubuque, 
and occasionally attended the Sunday services at Sinsinawa, 
thus she met Father Mazzuchelli, who arranged with her, in 
the summer of 1847, to take charge of a parish school in 
the basement of the little frame church in New Diggings, 
Wisconsin, a small mining town, about twelve miles southeast 
of Sinsinawa. In that same year. Miss Mary Routan, of St. 
Louis, was engaged to take the day school at Sinsinawa. 

In the mean time, Father Mazzuchelli had been awaiting 
the appearance of those who should be found qualified to 
initiate the fulfillment of his religious and educational designs. 
The year did not close before two noble, generous souls, emi- 
nently fitted for the work, presented themselves at the door of 
the small, unoccupied Dominican Convent at Sinsinawa. 

On December 26, 1847, Miss Mary Fitzpatrick and Miss 
Margaret Conway were admitted as novices, taking, as their 

61 



62 GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 

names in religion, Sister Mary Ignatia and Sister Mary Clara. 
Thus began the work and the history of the Dominican com- 
munity, transferred in 1852 to Benton, Wisconsin, and having 
its Mother House, since 1867, at Sinsinawa, Wisconsin. 

In January, 1848, Sister Clara took charge of the school 
in New Diggings, and Miss McNulty assisted her until March. 
Then, in company with a postulant, she opened a parish school 
in ShuUsburg, Wisconsin. Sister Ignatia had remained at the 
Mound and had been assisted by Miss Routan. In New 
Diggings, while Miss McNulty was with her. Sister Clara 
occupied a house of three rooms, one of which was used for 
the school, but, from March until July, she boarded with a 
private family and taught in the church, a portion of which 
was curtained off during school hours. 

Most happy were the two Sisters, that spring, to welcome 
a new member, Miss Judith Cahill, who, in the sixteenth year 
of her age, was received as a novice by Father Mazzuchelli, 
in St. Matthew's Church, ShuUsburg, Wisconsin, on April 2, 
1848, taking Sister Mary Josephine for her religious name. 
Assisted by Miss McNulty, she taught the school in that place 
until July. 

In August, 1848, the little community of novices. Sisters 
Clara, Ignatia and Josephine, with their assistants. Misses 
McNulty, Routan and McKenna, assembled at Sinsinawa for 
their first retreat and their brief vacation. Miss Elizabeth 
Divney, who had been with them a short time, returned to her 
home. In September, Sister Clara and Miss Routan went to 
New Diggings. The others remained at the Mound, some 
teaching the day school, others attending to the household 
duties of the college. The Sisters, and their assistants, did the 
cooking, washing and sewing, for the students and professors, 
in a dwelling entirely distinct from the college, and, in another 
house still further away, had their community room and dormi- 
tory. They were joined, on December 26th of that year, by 
Miss Ellen Conway, who took for her religious name Sister 
Mary Rachel. About this time Miss Routan sought employ- 
ment elsewhere, and Miss McNulty began to grow tired of life 




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A Fairy Palace— Sinsinawa 



GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 63 

in the West, but continued to teach the school in New Diggings 
until the fall term of the following year. Then she departed 
for the South and entered an Ursuline convent, where she died 
a few years later. When Sister Rachel was ready for duty, 
Miss Mary McKenna, a young girl sixteen years of age who 
had volunteered to help Sister Ignatia, returned to her home, 
her services being no longer needed. 

His secular teachers having all withdrawn, Father Mazzu- 
chelli organized his little community of four novices, appoint- 
ing, on February 5, 1849, Sister M. Clara prioress and Sister 
M. Josephine sub-prioress of the Convent of St. Dominic, 
Sinsinawa Mound, Diocese of Milwaukee. In May of that 
year. Sister Clara and Sister Josephine opened a school in a 
large rented building, near the center of the village of Hazel 
Green, Wisconsin. The neighborhood was almost entirely 
Protestant, so the Sisters were objects of an unbounded 
curiosity; for instance, their nearest neighbor was a Camp- 
bellite preacher, who never failed to examine the Sisters' 
provisions whenever the wagon arrived with them from the 
Mound. 

The school in Hazel Green was well attended and many of 
the pupils were the children of Protestant parents. Catechism 
was taught to the Catholic pupils daily after school hours, and 
the Litany of Loretto was recited before dismissal. Some 
young men walked four or five miles every day that they might 
receive religious instruction and be prepared for the reception 
of the sacraments. While the two devoted young novices, 
Sister Clara and Sister Josephine, were enduring loneliness 
and deprivation in Hazel Green, the other two. Sister Ignatia 
and Sister Rachel, with less loneliness but equal privation, were 
laboring constantly at the Mound, assisted by two or three girls. 

We find it written, in the records kept by Father Mazzu- 
chelli that the Sisters of the Third Order of St. Dominic were 
established in the Diocese of Milwaukee in 1846, with the 
authority of the Most Rev. Father Thomas Ancarani, Master 
General of the Dominican Order residing at Rome. 

During the first year of the community's existence there 



64 GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 

were only postulants to teach the schools and attend to other 
duties; in the latter part of 1847 some of these were received 
as novices. On August 15, 1849, four of the novices were 
permitted to make their religious profession. That date will 
be forever memorable as the real birthday of St. Clara's Com- 
munity. Sisters Clara Conway, Ignatia Fitzpatrick, Josephine 
Cahill, and Rachel Conway were its first professed members. 
The ceremony took place in Father Mazzuchelli's presence and 
with due solemnity, in St. Dominic's Church, a small frame 
structure at Sinsinawa, Wisconsin. The beloved Founder was 
wont in after years to refer to these Sisters as the four corner- 
stones of the institute. It may be interesting to the reader 
to learn at once what became of these dear Sisters, though 
their names will occur frequently in the following chapters. 

Sister Clara died at Benton on January 17, 1864, in the 
thirty-ninth year of her age, and the fifteenth of her religious 
profession. Sister Ignatia and Sister Josephine both died at 
Sinsinawa, the formier on May 14, 1886, in the seventieth year 
of her age and the thirty-seventh of her religious profession; 
the latter on February i, 1903, in the seventieth year of her 
age and the fifty-third of her religious profession. 

Sister Rachel was transferred in August, 1866, by her 
own wish, from St. Clara Convent, Benton, Wisconsin, to 
St. Catherine's Convent, Diocese of Louisville, Kentucky, and 
is now a member of the Dominican Community at Springfield, 
Illinois. 

Biographical sketches with a portrayal of the character of 
each Sister mentioned throughout this work will be found in 
" The Annals of the Dominican Community of St. Clara's 
Convent, Sinsinawa, Wisconsin." Suffice it for this book to 
state that these four Sisters were of the mold and fashion of 
all valiant women of pioneer days, with that additional some- 
thing, precious above price, that always distinguishes the true 
religious. 



CHAPTER V 

ORIGIN OF THE CONVENT IN BENTON, 
WISCONSIN 

The superintendence of a college and a farm, in addition 
to the arduous duties of a missionary, and the journeys and 
labors of a preacher, whose talent was in almost constant 
demand, was too much for the strength of even so indefatigable 
a worker as Father Mazzuchelli. Moreover, he was responsible 
for the welfare of the young community of Sisters. Their 
numbers and their needs would be steadily increasing. For a 
long time to come they must, in their helplessness and inexpe- 
rience, depend upon him for support and guidance. The 
advancement of their educational work, the increase of their 
boarding school, the additional day schools they would open, 
all this would constantly multiply his cares and ever increase 
the burden of his serious responsibilities. 

To so many calls, equally musical to his ear, he could not 
respond ; he was forced to listen to some and to be deaf to 
others. Had it been within the bounds of human strength, he 
would have continued gladly to devote himself to all these noble 
works, so satisfying to his zeal, so well within the scope of his 
great intellectual powers ; but since this might not be, he was 
called upon by his conscience to make his difficult choice. No 
soul, itself noble and true, can fail to comprehend how stern 
must have been the struggle to know God's will, how severe 
the strain in following it when known. Here was a man of 
great mental gifts and high moral qualities, a man bearing 
honorable titles and possessing unique spiritual powers, con- 
ferred upon him by the highest authority in the Church ; this 
man, with the approval of the Holy Father and of the Master 
General of the Order, had formed a noble project far in advance 
of his time. It must have required the supreme effort of a 

65 



66 GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 

truly sanctified will to abandon that project, to transfer to 
another the presidency of his college, and to give to others the 
control and disposal of his Missionary House, founded to fill a 
unique place in the sacred scheme of conversion and salvation. 

With characteristic humility, he never spoke of this trial in 
after years, but those who loved and revered him saw that 
this renunciation was part of that stern though loving discipline 
whereby God molds a chosen soul to sanctity. The more closely 
we consider the man and the circumstances the more deeply 
are we impressed by this crisis in his affairs, and the greater 
is our certainty that the performance of this act of renuncia- 
tion was superlatively difficult. It was done, however, with 
his characteristic promptness and generosity. The Dominican 
Fathers of St. Rose's Convent in Kentucky were cordially and 
earnestly invited to take possession of the college, and all the 
lands and buildings pertaining to it. 

We give below an account of this transaction as we find 
it recorded in Father Mazzuchelli's writing. It is copied 
verbatim : 

TRANSFER OF THE SINSINAWA PROPERTY TO THE DOMINICAN 
FATHERS OF ST. ROSE CONVENT, KENTUCKY, 

ST. Joseph's province. 

" In the Name of the. Father and of the Son and of the Holy 
Ghost. 

** Not necessitated by any conscientious motive, or by the 
command or desire of any superior in the order, much less by 
any pecuniary need, or by any difficulty whatever before God, 
or in the face of the w^orld, not even persuaded that such a 
step is really needed to complete the work which, in the name 
of the Lord, I began four years ago, I make this renunciation. 
This establishment at Sinsinawa Mound, with all its natural 
advantages, is just emerging from obscurity and taking deep 
root in the Church of Christ. The land is increasing in value 
and begins to yield its produce. The discovery of mineral in 
the vicinity seems to brighten the prospect and to promise 



GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 67 

plenty of means. And yet, just when the great difficulties and 
most bitter trials of a new establishment have been successfully 
encountered, I, the undersigned. Commissary Provincial of the 
Province of St. Charles, of the Order of St. Dominic, in the 
hope of contributing more abundantly to the propagation of 
the Catholic faith, in the Diocese of Wisconsin, in order to 
avoid any attachment to earth, and to be at liberty to exercise 
the sacred ministry as a missionary, do hereby resign the 
powers given to me by the Master General of the Order, in 
the year 1844, in the city of Rome, renouncing also all the 
honors and worldly advantages which ere long could be gained 
by persevering in this good undertaking, do give to the Province 
of St. Joseph, of the Order of St. Dominic, all my right, title or 
claim to seven hundred and twenty acres of valuable land, 
including Sinsinawa Mound, with the church, college, houses, 
barns, fences, etc., etc., free of all debt and liability whatever, 
provided the said Province shall comply with the following 
conditions : — " Here follows a request in regard to the dis- 
posal or purchase of certain church, house and farm furnish- 
ings, also a petition concerning the welfare of certain persons 
heretofore dependent on Father Mazzuchelli's care. 

The value of the stock, of the farm implements and pro- 
duce, of the church ornaments and vestments, and of the house 
furnishings, at the lowest estimate, was nineteen hundred and 
fifty-five dollars. The accounts of the Sinsinawa House, bal- 
anced to the date, October i, 1849, showed a debt of eighteen 
hundred dollars, and a sum sufficient to cancel this was all that 
Father Mazzuchelli would accept from the Fathers for the 
above items. As he himself wrote in his statement regarding 
the presentation of Sinsinawa to the Fathers at St. Rose's: 
" I make a deduction of one hundred and fifty-five dollars 
because the sum nineteen hundred and fifty-five dollars is 
not needed to meet my liabilities." 

The Fathers having hastened to accept his munificent gift, 
he made an assignment to them, in November, 1849, o^ the 
whole property of Sinsinawa, asking, as we see from the above 
document, no return for the sums expended by him on the 



68 GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 

original purchase and on subsequent improvements. Hence- 
forth he would devote himself to the duties of missionary, 
preacher, and parish priest. His remarkable acquirements as 
a scholar and his eminent gifts as a teacher, though he did 
not foresee it then, were to be dedicated under God to the 
spiritual elevation and the intellectual advancement of woman. 
He was to assist for that end in the education of young girls, 
in the formation of their characters, in the development of their 
intellectual and spiritual powers, and in the Christian train- 
ing of their dispositions to habits of nobility and truth. 

The fate of St. Clara's Community had trembled in the 
balance. Its very existence, though he did not realize it at the 
time, had depended upon his decision in his hour of perplexing 
doubt. Without his special attention and constant care in its 
early years the institute must have perished. We call him a 
hero wjio endangers his own life to save that of another, and 
the person saved is ever afterwards the bondman of gratitude. 
Is not the man who gives up his noblest work to another for its 
accomplishment, and devotes himself to a more humble mission, 
because of its absolute need of him — is not he also a hero ? 
And shall not they for whom he sacrificed his dearest aims — 
they, children of the people he served and children of the many 
to whom he preached — they, the members, to the hundredth 
generation, of the community he founded — shall they not hold 
his name forever in grateful, reverent, loving memory? St. 
Clara's answer may be read in the loving conformity of her 
religious life to his spirit, and in the constant progress of her 
educational work towards his ideals. 

After transferring the Sinsinawa property to the Dominican 
Fathers, Father Mazzuchelli went at once to his parish in 
Benton, La Fayette County, Wisconsin, beginning, without 
delay to serve the people, and, as it happened in the Providence 
of God, to prepare a permanent home for his little community 
of religious women. In the mean time, Sister Ignatia and 
Sister Rachel continued their work at Sinsinawa. The school 
in New Diggings, which had been closed since the departure 
of Miss McNulty, except during the winter of 1849, when it 




St. Patrick's Church. Erected by Fr Mazzuchelli in 1S52, Bentox, Wis. 




Interior of St. Patrick's Church. As It Appeared in Fr. Samuel's Time, Except the Frescoing 



GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 69 

had been taught by Father Mazzuchelli himself, was reopened 
jn 1850, by Sister Clara and Sister Josephine. A comfortable 
little cottage of four rooms, located quite near the church, 
had been purchased, and there the two devoted companions 
dwelt, occupying themselves in teaching the school, in visiting 
the sick and the dying, and in fulfilling their own simple 
domestic duties. ' 

Neither in Benton, nor in New Diggings, was there a 
residence for the priest. When arriving from Sinsinawa to 
minister to the people in either place Father Mazzuchelli had 
been accustomed to occupy a small vestry room in the church 
and to take his meals at some parishioner's hospitable table 
He at once set about building in Benton a parish residence, 
a small, two-story, frame house beside the old frame church. 
He also began the erection of a new church of stone The 
old one was moved across the street, onto a piece of property 
exceedingly desolate and neglected, which was transformed 
some time later, by the Father's care, into a convent garden 
beautiful and fruitful, the happy playground of many a joyous 
school-girl. 

In the midst of all this activity, his priestly strength of soul 
and his natural courage were called upon to meet a new 
danger, in the awful exigencies of cholera, which broke out in 
New Diggings, in 1850. He was engaged, night and day, 
attending the physical, as well as the spiritual needs of his 
afflicted people, and it is worthy of note that none of them died 
without the sacraments. What untiring devotion, what sleep- 
less energy, what unwearied zeal, that implies can be under- 
stood by those only who recall the speedy inroads of the 
dread disease, and the suddenness with which death followed 
its appearance in those days. 

In May, 1852, the Sisters resigned their schools at Sin- 
sinawa and New Diggings that they might assemble in Benton 
for community life. They occupied a large frame house which, 
for several months, was almost entirely unfurnished Their 
privations were many, and some of them severe, but not beyond 
their power of cheerful endurance. Moreover, their observance 



70 GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 

of Holy Poverty put both Priest and Sisters in closer sympathy 
with the people, most of them poor miners, struggling for the 
merest necessaries of existence. It is true that in one sense, 
for the Sisters, as well as for the miners and their families, 
it was a poverty of necessity ; but it was elevated and sanctified 
by the spirit in which it was borne. It was voluntary poverty 
in the highest sense, since the Sisters all had comfortable homes 
to which they were free to return. No thought of earthly 
comfort, however, could win them from their chosen work of 
love. God's glory and their neighbor's salvation constituted 
their only solicitude, and with joy did they build their religious 
institute on that most stable of foundations, Holy Poverty. 

A] free school for day pupils was opened in a large frame 
house, for which Father Mazzuchelli paid eight dollars per 
month rent. All the children within a circuit of three miles, 
their ages varying from five to twenty years, flocked to the 
school. It was really the public school of the town, and the 
Sisters received public money as their recompense. 

In Shullsburg, New Diggings, and Hazel Green, the 
spiritual privations had been almost as great as the physical, 
and religious privileges had been few and far between. The 
Sisters had heard Mass and received Holy Communion on 
Sundays only, and as the service was always at half-past ten, 
they did not break their fast on those occasions until noon. The 
Blessed Sacrament was not reserved in the churches, because 
there was no resident priest, and this made the life of the 
religious exceedingly lonely. In Benton, though as poor as 
ever in things temporal, they found themselves vastly richer 
in things spiritual, having week-day Mass, their daily visits to 
the Blessed Sacrament, and every second Sunday an early 
service. 

When the new church was completed, and the old one no 
longer needed for services, the latter was remodeled to serve 
as an academy. It was blessed under the title of St. Clara, 
a favorite patron of the Mazzuchelli family. Late in the fall 
of 1853, the Sisters took possession of this establishment, their 



GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 71 

first permanent home, and thus began the existence and the 
history of St. Clara's Academy, now St. Clara College. 

In the light of its subsequent removal from Sinsinawa to 
Benton, and from Benton to Sinsinawa, it is interesting to 
note that it was first incorporated as the " Sinsinawa Female 
Academy." The act is signed by N. E. Whiteside, Speaker of 
the Assembly, and by John E. Holmes, Lieutenant Governor 
of the State of Wisconsin and President of the Senate. Ap- 
proved, August 18, 1848, by Nelson Dewy, first State Governor 
of Wisconsin. 

Transplanted to Benton, " Sinsinawa Female Academy " 
had become St. Clara Female Academy, as large gilt letters 
on the cornice of the pillared porch testified, and it was evident 
to its revered Founder that he, under God, must be the mainstay 
and support of its infant weakness, the constant guide and 
counselor of its inexperienced Faculty. Above all, he was 
deeply concerned regarding the religious life of the little com- 
munity, and desirous to lessen its manual labors, that there 
might be more time for prayer and study, more physical 
strength and greater intellectual ability for the training and 
proper development, material and spiritual, of the children 
committed to their care. 

In this connection he and the Sisters considered the advis- 
ability of their continuing to lay aside for a time, with the 
permission of Rome, the white habit of the Dominican Order. 
They wished to substitute for it a habit of black material, to be 
worn with head and neck linens of white, thus preserving the 
traditional Dominican colors. In accordance with this idea, 
an exceedingly neat and convenient costume was devised, and 
a description of it was sent to the Master General residing in 
Rome. To him Father Mazzuchelli represented the difficulty 
of obtaining, in the Northwestern states, the proper material 
for white habits, without greater expense than the poverty of 
the little community could bear, also the great labor it would 
cause the little band, already overburdened, were they to wear 
a habit so easily soiled. 



72 GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 

These representations were graciously received, and, hav- 
ing due regard to time and place, the change in the garb was 
temporarily approved. Nor was this adoption of the black 
habit by the American Sisters an innovation in the Order. It 
had happened more than once in France that, because of revo- 
lutionary disturbances and the danger to Sisters appearing in 
so conspicuous a dress as that of the Dominicans, the white 
habit was exchanged for a time for one of black. In Italy, also, 
there were communities of the Third Order wearing the black 
habit at that very time. 

In Father Mazzuchelli's " Commentaries on the Rule of the 
Third Order " we read : '' It is certain that the form and quality 
of the dress of the Sisters of the Order, in the course of the 
six hundred years of its existence, underwent several changes ; 
the colors, however, have always teen the same. In our days 
the habit of this Order in various parts of Europe is almost 
entirely black." " However, to avoid all arbitrary doing, the 
Most Reverend Master General of the Order, A. V. Jandel, 
residing in Rome, was consulted on the subject and replied, 
* As said habit, though consisting of a black tunic (or dress), 
has a white scapular under it, I have nothing to object to it.' " 

While wearing the black habit, the sign of profession for the 
Dominican Sisters of the Diocese of Milwaukee, State of Wis- 
consin, was a silver cross suspended from a black silk cord 
worn around the neck; the cross rested on the breast, just 
below the edge of the deep, stiff, white linen collar. This cross 
was given by their founder " as a mark of their love of the 
Redeemer, and the purity of that faith in defense of which they 
were first established." 

In the mean time Father Mazzuchelli had applied to St. 
Mary's, a Dominican Convent in Somerset, Ohio, now known 
as St. Mary's of the Springs, for four Sisters who should be 
willing to become affiliated with the community in Benton. 
Four came, robed in white. This beautiful habit, so dear to 
them, they must lay aside for one of black; many beautiful 
religious customs, especially dear to them, they might not hope 
to practice here for a number of years. Privations, physical 




First Academy, 1853, Benton, Wis. 



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The Grape Arbor on the Benton Grounds 



GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 73 

and spiritual, to which they were strangers, must be endured 
for a long time to come. Wisconsin was at that time a wilder- 
ness, compared with Ohio. They feared, doubted and dreaded ; 
they spent their first night at St. Clara in earnest discussion 
with their hostesses, whose religious family they had intended 
to join, and three of them concluded to return to Ohio. The 
one who remained was Sister Joanna Clark, the " Mother 
Joanna " of loving, grateful memory. 

Sister Clara, prioress of the little community since 1849, 
determined, in her humility, to resign her office, urging the 
Sisters to choose for the place Sister Joanna, whose experi- 
ence of a regular conventual life, as well as her knowledge 
of Dominican customs and traditions, so well fitted her to 
train, to instruct, and ,to govern the little band of devoted 
souls, so zealous in all things good, and so anxious to be thor- 
oughly Dominican in spirit, though they might not hope to 
be such in the letter for many years to come. And so we find 
in the Book of Records, in Father Mazzuchelli's writing, the 
following entry: *' On the 15th of August, 1854, Sister M. 
Joanna Clark was made prioress and Sister M. Clara Conway 
sub-prioress of St. Clara Convent, Benton, Wisconsin." 

Mother Joanna Clark, being re-elected each year on the first 
Tuesday after Easter, governed the community with kindly 
wisdom and gentle firmness until her death in December, 1864, 
and Sister Clara Conway was re-elected sub-prioress every year 
until her death in January, 1864. 



CHAPTER VI 

THE LAST YEARS OF FATHER MAZZUCHELLI'S 

LIFE 

As pastor of several congregations of the faithful, Father 
Mazzuchelli displayed the same indefatigable zeal that had 
animated him as missionary and as college president. Having 
built churches at Benton, at New Diggings, and at St. Rose 
Prairie, his interest in the temporal as well as the spiritual 
welfare of the families clustered around them was untiring. 
In his " Year Books " everything relating to these parishes is 
recorded. One feels a curious interest in reading that the 
Christmas collection in Benton, in 1852, amounted to forty- 
seven dollars and ninety-five cents ; that there were ten mar- 
riages and forty-five baptisms ; that the Christmas Communions 
numbered one hundred and twenty-seven in Benton and one 
hundred and fifteen in New Diggings. This meant, of course, 
that the dear Father had heard, in the two towns, three miles 
apart, two hundred and forty-two confessions on the vigil of 
the great feast. 

Life was very simple in Wisconsin fifty years ago, but 
faith and piety were strong in the hearts of the devoted little 
bands of Catholics scattered here and there throughout the 
state, and blest were those who enjoyed the- care and the sacred 
services of the high-souled Dominican. From 1853 to the year 
of his death, he divided his time and his solicitude between 
his churches and his schools, multiplying his all-embracing 
interest that it might extend to every detail of parish, com- 
munity and school life. 

Neither the school nor the comniiunity increased greatly 
during the fifties, for the population, of that part of Wisconsin 
in which Benton is located, was at that time small and scat- 
tered. However, though the number of pupils and of religious 

74 




The Little Mound." The Juniors and Their 
Prefect, 1865 




The Three Graces and 



Father Samuel's Sun Dial 



GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 75 

was small, the standard of excellence reached under Father 
Mazzuchelli's training and tuition was high. In an old account 
book, containing the academy pupils' bills for the years 1854 
to 1858, we find from the titles of the text-books charged to 
the account of certain pupils that, even in those early days, an 
advanced course of study, including higher , mathematics and 
the sciences, was open to those desiring to pursue it. Rhetoric 
and literature, natural philosophy and astronomy, are subjects 
recorded in a list of the lectures given by Father Mazzuchelli 
during those years when the school was yet in its infancy. 

The progress thus initiated was continued with an ever 
increasing degree of success as the years multiplied. Among 
the thirty-two members that constituted the community dur- 
ing the venerable Founder's lifetime, he discovered gifts and 
talents that, under his fostering care and skillful training, 
developed rapidly and brilliantly, giving to St. Clara Academy 
from the very first an admirable corps of efficient teachers. 
Special talents, as for music or art, were cultivated by compe- 
tent persons, and Father Mazzuchelli himself, having a com- 
plete cabinet of instruments for illustration and experiment, 
gave the Sisters a normal course in higher mathematics and 
in the natural sciences. He also taught them Latin, French, 
and Italian. 

During the winter of each year, from the foundation of 
the academy to the time of his death, on three evenings of the 
week, he gave to the pupils, in presence of the teachers, lectures 
on science, history and Christian doctrine. On Sunday after- 
noons he conducted the Bible history class, making the lesson 
the basis of those clear, practical instructions that were so 
effective in awakening faith and animating charity. 

Under his supervision, the daily recitations were a pleasure 
rather than a task ; to the teachers, he was ever a support and a 
help ; to the pupils, an inspiration and a trusted guide. During 
recreation hours it was the delight of the pupils to meet him, 
to catch his sunny smile, and to engage him in conversation. 
His words were so pleasant, even gay at times, yet so full of 
valuable information and profitable instruction. He had the 



76 GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 

gift of interesting young minds in serious subjects, of awaken- 
ing in them a desire to know that which they ordinarily 
regarded as dull and profitless. Better than this he had the 
power to urge them, with gracious persistence, to follow an 
honorable course of conduct naturally distasteful to them. 
And how they all loved him! Because his charity and his 
unselfish kindness made him lovable. Yet he could practice 
severity, if need be, though he tempered it with such sweetness 
that the thought of having displeased or disappointed him 
could not be comfortably entertained, and the culprit was soon 
at his side, seeking the pardon that was always instantly and 
graciously given. 

With all his earnestness about the pupils' intellectual pro- 
gress, and his zeal regarding their spiritual advancement, he 
was so fatherly, so human in his consideration for their youthful 
love of good things and good times, that he was ever devising 
something to recreate and to amuse them. The innocent games 
of recess time received the encouragement of his hearty 
laughter. Sleigh rides in winter and wagon rides in summer, 
with a big dinner somewhere on the way, it was his delight to 
arrange. Dramas, concerts and candy-pulls for winter eve- 
nings, and picnic suppers on the grass, at the summer sunset 
hour, were the happy outcome of his unfailing thoughtfulness. 

Little wonder that the school, because of the thoroughness 
of its methods, gained favor with the parents, and, because of 
its pleasantness, attracted the children, so that, in i860, there 
was not room in the small frame convent for all the pupils 
w,ho applied for admission. Then Father Mazzuchelli planned, 
with his admirable skill as an architect, a convent after the 
European style, with cloisters, bordering on a quadrangular 
court in the midst of the structure. Several small wooden 
houses that had been used for domestic purposes were removed 
from the rear of the old convent, and three sides of the quad- 
rangular court were walled in by three parts of the great stone 
building, so skillfully designed by the Reverend Founder, but 
so sadly destined never to be completed. 

Everything had been prospering; material advancement 



GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 77 

had been steady; educational progress had been rapid; 
spiritual advantages had been many and fruitful; and then 
came 1864, a year of such pain and sorrow, darkness and loss, 
that the survival of the community seems almost miraculous. 

In January, Sister Clara Conway, the beloved of the people, 
the model of the Sisters, the mainstay of the school, the 
cherished friend of the pupils, the right hand of her superior 
and of her director, sickened, and in a few days died. God's 
hand was upon the devoted household, but they knew not yet 
how heavily it could press, nor how much they would yet learn 
to bear. Her office as sub-prioress was filled by Sister Agnes 
Barry. In the old Book of Records we read : '* On the 17th 
day of January, 1864, departed this life. Sister M. Clara, called 
in the world Miss Margaret Conway, aged thirty-nine years." 
Signed —" Samuel MazzuchelH, O.P." 

It was his last entry in the old book that we treasure, for 
that day month he himself was stricken with his last illness. 
On the evening of February 16, he was engaged in the discus- 
sion of business at some house in the town ; a messenger found 
him there, and urged him to hasten to the bedside of a dying 
parishioner. Though the weather had turned colder and a 
heavy snow was falling, he did not delay to return to his 
house for his wraps, but accompanied the messenger with all 
possible speed to the afflicted home, three miles distant. Re- 
turning several hours later, he was stricken with a chill, which 
was succeeded by violent fever. When the physician arrived, he 
found that pleuro-pneumonia had developed and that the case 
was serious. The Sisters, by devoted nursing, and the physi- 
cian, by constant attention, fought for the life that was dear to 
hundreds of persons and priceless to the community. Heaven 
was besieged with prayers. It could not be that God meant to 
deprive them of the father who had been to them in all things 
so tender and loving. He had provided for their physical needs 
and their spiritual requirements so long and so faithfully; 
they knew not a temporal care or anxiety, save the teaching 
of their classes ; nor a spiritual trouble but the saying of their 
prayers and the making of their meditation without distraction. 



78 GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 

He knew from the first how his illness would terminate, and 
made sure, before strength failed him, to say his last wise, 
tender words to his heart-broken children. For a week the 
uncertain struggle went on with alternating hopes and fears, 
and then came the end. On the morning of February 23, a 
little before four, his physical discomfort seemed merged and 
lost in the joy of his soul; his face became radiant, and crying 
out " O quam dilecta tabernacula tua, Domine ! " he departed 
for the eternal home he thus apostrophized. 

To know what that awful moment meant to the Sisters is 
not possible to any one, not of their number at the time. Life 
itself seemed to lie in ruins about them, and they were too 
stunned at first to realize the awful act of resignation that 
awaited their tearful utterance. 

For a week the deceased Father lay in state in St. Patrick's 
Church, Benton, Wisconsin, and those who revered and loved 
him came from far and near to look upon his face, so noble 
and calm in holy death. Not one but had lost in him something 
that no other could give, in quite the same way or in the same 
measure. 

A week of silent rest in the church that he had built, a week 
of intense grief and fervent prayer for his surviving religious 
children and his multitude of friends, a week of many suffrages 
for his soul, and then came Tuesday, March 2d, the dread 
burial day, when, with all the holy pomp and stately ceremonial 
of Mother Church, his obsequies were celebrated and his vener- 
ated remains were carried in their leaden casket only a few 
steps from his house and church to the village graveyard. A 
simple marble monument marks the spot, in the midst of the 
lot reserved for the Sisters, where the beloved pastor sleeps. 
There he, and they who were claimed by God while the convent 
was in Benton, rest in holy companionship, awaiting the hour 
of a glorious resurrection. 



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Where Happy Moments were Spent with Father Samuel as Chairman 



Nr^/y'i-^ 




'Ah! memories of sweet summer eves, 
Of moonlit hour and shadowy way, 
Of birds and flowers and dewy leaves, 

And smiles and tones more dear than they!' 



CHAPTER VII 
A CHARACTER SKETCH 

REVEREND SAMUEL CHARLES MAZZUCHELLI 

A man's life may teem with important opportunities, every 
one of which he may use to its utmost value, making his days 
exceedingly rich and full, and yet there may be an absence of 
all extraordinary incident. 

A few pages have sufficed for the record of Father Mazzu- 
chelli's years in Benton, for, compared with those that preceded 
them, they were quiet and uneventful. They were pre-emi- 
nently the years of his interior life. They had been inaugurated 
by the self-immolation of 1849, ^^^ by the subsequent voluntary 
renunciation of every ecclesiastical ambition, however lawful or 
laudable. They were continued in a spirit of detachment from 
all exterior things, however sacred, and of an utter self-forget- 
fulness that stamped his exterior life with the seal of sanctity 
and made his interior life an unbroken union with God. Such 
a union makes the priest but the more constantly and tenderly 
mindful of his neighbor, for Divine love quickens zeal and 
inflames charity. 

It was in keeping with the energy of his will and the 
singleness of his intentions that Father Mazzuchelli's form 
should be daily seen outlined against the sky, as he stood on 
the rising walls of the new convent, not only directing but 
assisting the masons and carpenters. It was in still closer 
keeping, however, with the sacred efficiency of his daily life, 
that he should be sumrrjoned from those walls to his modest 
parlor, in his little cottage across the street, to encourage some 
repentant or, mayhap, to reprove some rebellious sinner; to 
repress some exuberant society woman, who had come from 
a distance to lay before him her artificial perplexities ; to 
sympathize in some young man's trials and temptations, or 

79 



8o GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 

to reprove some young woman's giddiness and neglect of grace ; 
to aid, with his wise counsel, some harassed man of business, 
or to comfort and advise some troubled wife and mother; to 
satisfy, in fact, a thousand and one demands upon his time, his 
charity, his wisdom. 

Such things fill the life of every priest, it is true, but not 
in the same measure, for not every priest has the heaven-born 
faculty " to be all things to all men." Father Mazzuchelli 
possessed it in an eminent degree, so that not only all classes 
of persons, but persons of all creeds flocked to him in their 
hours of darkness, perplexity and trial. 

There was a charming social side to his character which 
had a strong attraction for his superiors and his equals, so 
that it was no rare thing for him to receive a visit of courtesy 
from some Church dignitary or a call of ceremony from some 
state official, to be consulted by some man of affairs, or 
appealed to by some political personage. Many came to seek 
him for the mere pleasure of conversing with him. To these 
he was gentle and affable, but he tactfully hastened them on 
their way, that he might return to the particular work he had 
in hand at the moment. And he had so much to do : his parish 
work, his distant sick calls, his mission work ; the preparation 
of his lectures for the school, of his learned discourses for 
delivery in distant cities, of his effective sermons for his own 
people, and for other congregations, where his services as an 
eloquent preacher were ever in demand. Besides all this, there 
were his timely visits to many a home, where his presence, 
as a gracious, helpful friend, was ever welcome. He seemed 
to have time, however, to respond efficiently to every demand 
upon the exhaustless resources of his mind and heart, for 
while quick to think, to decide, and to move, he was singularly 
methodical. All his habits were orderly; in his house, in the 
schools, in his church, everything was in place. Thus he saved 
friction as well as time, and while no detail was too small for 
his careful consideration, no task was too great for his instant 
readiness. 

Not only did he economize his own time, he saved the time 



GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 8i 

of others by his promptness, and his neighbor never suffered 
annoyance or inconvenience by his faihng to keep an appoint- 
ment. A bHzzard might blow, or a thunderstorm rage, it never 
hindered Father MazzuchelU's appearance at the appointed 
hour. Business men were known to ask " Did Father Mazzu- 
cheUi say that he would be here at such an hour ? " and then 
to assert, " Well, then he will be here ; nothing short of a 
hurricane will delay him." 

Never in unseemly haste, yet never a moment late ; never 
idle, yet never too busy to listen to the words of even the 
poorest, the simplest child; quick in manner and animated in 
speech, yet never impatient or ill-tempered ; he was a living 
example, in practice, of the things he most frequently preached. 

Always abstemious, his habits during Lent were austere. 
It was his daily custom to go until noon without even a cup 
of coffee, and the Sisters were often distressed to learn, on his 
return, at two or three o'clock in the afternoon, from a distant 
sick call, that he had not yet broken his fast. On Shrove Tues- 
day evening, he would warn the Sister who had care of his 
table *' This is the last supper till Easter Sunday," and so it 
would prove to be. Indeed, one cannot fail to notice, when 
reading his Memoirs, how seldom he mentions food, though 
his deprivations, when making his long journeys, through deso- 
late tracts of country, must have been frequent and severe. 

The spirit of mortification animated him at all times, and 
many beautiful instances of his rigid practice of penance 
became known after his death, but these are sacred things that 
we may not mention ; another generation may know, and will 
reveal them to his honor and God's glory. 

His humility, in the light of his remarkable gifts of mind 
and qualities of soul; was profound. In his Memoirs he refers, 
with the utmost simplicity and candor, to the respect shown 
him, the honors conferred upon him, and yet, in the whole 
volume, there is not one note of egotism. That he had per- 
sistently refused the Episcopal dignity was not known to even 
his nearest friends until the fact was established by letters 
discovered after his death. Letters that he had not destroyed 



82 GOLDEN BELLS IIST CONVENT TOWERS 

because other information that they contained would be of 
vital importance to the Sisters, when he should have departed 
from their midst. His charity to the poor was unbounded; 
many a friendless youth or homeless maiden owed an education 
to his generosity, and success in life to his ever solicitous 
interest. The people of the various parishes he served, espe- 
cially those of Benton and New Diggings, looked upon him 
as a sort of special providence appointed by God for their 
personal guidance and support, alike in the simple occurrences 
and the greater exigencies of their lives, and their first impulse, 
in time of trouble, was to turn to him for the help that never 
failed them. 

In eastern Iowa, northwestern Illinois, and all through 
Wisconsin and northwestern Michigan, his memory is still 
held dear by the descendants of his former parishioners, peni- 
tents and friends. The western hierarchy and priesthood of 
his day were his warm friends, while the civil officials of the 
time admired and revered him. He was never known to fail 
a friend, or to injure an enemy ; moreover, the sterling char- 
acter and noble disposition that secured and kept his friend, 
was not long in winning the good will and the high regard 
of his enemy. His unhesitating obedience and unflinching 
fidelity to the authorities of the Church and of the Order were 
evinced in every crisis of his life, and are manifest to any 
one who reads his correspondence, or glances at the documents 
quoted in this work. To have inspired such deep and unhesi- 
tating trust in the highest officials of the Church and the Order, 
he must have impressed them profoundly with the grandeur of 
his character, the greatness of his intellect and the strength of 
his virtues. But, though he might be admired and trusted by 
the great and powerful, though he might be indeed " all things 
to all men," the quality that most endeared him to the poor, the 
simple, the sinful and the sorrowful, was his high-minded 
sunniness of disposition, his indomitable determination to see 
people and things, opportunities and events, in the best possible 
light. 

During the last decade of the Father's years there was a 



GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 83 

forceful change in life's mechanism, as put together by cir- 
cumstances, life's wonderful engineers. 

The years of the saintly Priest's missionary labors, amid 
the savage and semi-civilized conditions in Michigan and 
Wisconsin, had been varied by long journeys that were char- 
acterized by ever changing scenery and diversified by unex- 
pected occurrences. Though isolated and lonely, as to men 
of his own class and kind, his life was public, and certainly 
it was not dull. 

Later, his position as Vicar of the Diocese of Dubuque had 
widened the field of his activity, and kept him constantly mov- 
ing from place to place, in the accomplishment of the ceaseless 
round of his laborious and responsible duties. This had 
brought him in pleasant contact with many classes of people, 
and in friendly relations with many an interesting personality, 
and more than ever was he before the public. His visit to 
Europe had been a renewal of the tender joys of a noble 
boyhood, supplemented by the enjoyment of a panorama of 
beautiful sacred pictures of palaces, churches and shrines. As 
a missionary from a distant land and its strange people, he 
was the object of much curious and reverential attention from 
the public as well as from his many friends and acquaintances. 
On his return to America, his work at Sinsinawa had given a 
fresh impetus to his energies, and had filled his life with a 
diversity of interesting incident, while bringing him in frequent 
intercourse with men remarkable for position, wealth and 
intelligence. At no other period of his career could temptation 
have more strongly urged him to become that idol of society, 
the popular ecclesiastic. 

Thus his life, until 1850, had been full of a brisk physical 
activity, prompted and sustained by an unwearying mental 
alertness. It had glowed with the color of frequent change of 
scene, and with the warmth of many friendly associations. It 
had called likewise for the steady manifestation of the strong 
qualities of a noble soul, and the sturdy virtues of a well 
disciplined heart ; the high-minded Dominican had never failed 
in making a worthy response. 



84 GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 

We have noted his courage on board the storm-tossed 
ship, and in the wigwams of hostile Indians ; we have admired 
his fortitude in his cheerful endurance of hunger and cold, 
isolation and loneliness ; w'e have been edified by the strong 
faith and holy desire that sent him hundreds of miles in the 
depth of winter to receive the Sacrament of Penance; and 
we have been reproached for our selfishness by beholding his 
tender charity in ministering to the physical and spiritual needs 
of repulsive savages. 

We have rejoiced in the invincible trust and hopefulness 
with which he built churches and established schools in poor, 
scattered prairie villages, that he foresaw would become cities ; 
we have taken holy pride in the gracious tact with which he 
drew non-Catholics within the circle of his forceful and benefi- 
cent influence; and we have glorified God for the unfailing 
simplicity and humility with which this high-souled Priest used 
his admirable graces, gifts and powers. We have been most 
deeply impressed, however, by his act of renunciation when he 
left the grand possibilities of Sinsinawa for the simple cer- 
tainties of Benton. Then his life's mechanism became that of 
the complicated, many-wheeled, exquisitely balanced, but per- 
fectly hidden and wondrously quiet machinery of the watch, 
that counts with the gentle motion of reverent hands the beads 
of Time's rosary of hours. 

In the accomplishment of his later, and apparently easier 
work, there was a development of new powers and a mani- 
festation of the more delicate virtues of a higher spiritual life, 
the hidden life of one who abides constantly w'ith Christ, and 
on whom the public has no claim. Many events of the Father's 
closing years, events that may not be described to this genera- 
tion, prove also that to him had come the dark hours of 
Gethsemane and Calvary, as they come to every noble soul 
that follows in the footsteps of Christ. 

The Divine Master had chosen the devoted Priest for the 
martyrdom of the soul, and this had been borne in that holy 
silence that strengthens interior patience and sanctifies superla- 
tively life's sorrow and pain. His election to the ministry of 



GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 85 

interior suffering was known only as one knows what he reads 
between the lines, when simple dignity and saintly reserve have 
controlled the pen that inscribed them. 

The conditions that he met with in Benton were entirely 
new. The care of several struggling parishes, the support of a 
young community, and the direction of a large boarding school 
afforded occupation for every hour, and exercise for every 
faculty, but there was also a new atmosphere that favored the 
growth of those interior virtues that, hidden from all but God 
and His angels, anoint, perfume and shroud the soul, as it were, 
in preparation for its glorious translation from earth to heaven. 

Thus it happens that the last chapter of Father Mazzu- 
chelli's biography is so brief. It is not easy to touch the inner 
life of a great soul with the pen, be it ever so reverently wielded 
by the hand of loving remembrance. 

Those who have studied the lives of God's holy ones, the 
sanctified children of the Church, have discovered the strange 
truth that the spirit of heavenly joy is ever the treasured inmate 
of a martyred soul. Such joy, the offspring of sanctified sor- 
row, flooded the heart and irradiated the face of St. Clara's 
beloved Founder, as he died with the words of the psalm upon 
his lips, " O quam delecta tabernacula tua, Domine ! " 

St. Clara Convent, November 4, 1903, 7 p.m. 



CHAPTER VIII 

THE BENTON ACADEMY SUBSEQUENT TO THE 
DEATH OF FATHER MAZZUCHELLI 

That St. Clara's community survived the year 1864 is almost 
a miracle of heavenly response to human reliance on Divine 
Providence. The situation demanded extraordinary powers, 
affording strength to endure much physical discomfort and 
unwonted mental distress as well as ability to perform arduous 
labors of body and mind. It likewise required in those at the 
helm the ability to meet almost overwhelming temporal and 
financial difficulties with prudence and wisdom; it also 
demanded the courage to persevere in a work that seemed on 
the verge of ruin, and to sustain heavy and unfamiliar burdens 
of responsibility. The Sisters had been accustomed to rely 
with unquestioning confidence on Father Mazzuchelli and on 
Mother Joanna, under God, for the supply of every need, 
physical, mental, and spiritual. And as teachers they had 
always referred to Sister Clara for advice and help. Her 
death had been a severe loss to the school and to the com- 
munity; that it was so soon followed by the death of Father 
Mazzuchelli was an irreparable misfortune for the whole insti- 
tute. While his venerated remains were lying in state in the 
church. Sister Catherine Myers, an admirable religious and a 
successful teacher, rested on a bier in the Convent Chapel. Her 
health had been failing for some time, and she died of pul- 
monary consumption three days after Father Mazzuchelli. 

Their Father, their one true friend and generous provider, 
having been taken from them, the Sisters turned with redoubled 
love and confidence to Mother Joanna. On the first Tuesday 
after Easter the election was held as usual. Mother Joanna was 
re-elected Prioress, and Sister Agnes Barry was chosen to fill 



86 



GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 87 

Sister Clara's office as sub-Prioress. Sister Josephine, Sister 
Rachel and Sister Regina became Members of the Council. 

For some time before Father Mazzuchelli's death Mother 
Joanna's health had caused the Sisters serious anxiety. The 
sudden increase of her responsibilities did not tend to improve 
her condition. Much of the household care fell upon Sister 
Agnes, and Sister Josephine superintended as far as she was 
able the work on the new building. In the academy there 
were Sister Gertrude Power, Sister Rachel Conway, Sister 
Veronica Power, Sister Imelda Hertsog, Sister Emily Power, 
Sister Vincentia Williams, Sister Regina Mulqueeny and Sister 
Alberta Duffy, all excellent teachers, who exerted themselves 
with superlative energy to forward the interests of the school. 
There were no more beautiful scientific and historical lectures 
or impressive religious instructions, such as Father Mazzu- 
chelli had given, however, and even the youngest child felt the 
loneliness and the sense of vacancy caused by his absence, but 
the regular routine of class work progressed happily, and other 
things went on smoothly until the winter of 1864. Then sev- 
eral of the pupils were stricken with typhoid fever, and, in 
spite of tender care and the best medical attendance to be pro- 
cured in those days, four of them died. In the midst of this 
heart-breaking trouble Mother Joanna's condition grew rapidly 
worse. That she might have the quiet that it was not possible 
to secure for her in the crowded academy, she had been removed 
to Father Mazzuchelli's little reception-room in his unoccupied 
cottage. There the Sisters sought her to ask advice, and to 
receive encouragement and consolation. There, on December 
15th, they knelt to listen to her last loving words, and, after 
catching the sound of her last sigh, to realize that they were 
indeed orphans, almost as ignorant and helpless as little children 
deprived of their parents. 

In one year the three props of the community had been 
removed, and everything seemed to be tottering helplessly 
towards inevitable ruin, but the Hand of God was there; it 
pressed heavily, but it supported mightily. 



88 GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 

On Christmas Day Sister Regina Mulqueeny was elected 
Prioress, pro tern., and life went on in the shadow of that 
awful year, as human life must ever do in the midst of sorrow 
and death. There must be no halting, but there are various 
ways of progressing. The Sisters chose the way of courage, 
of fortitude, of zealous, untiring endeavor. When the Tuesday 
after Easter, 1865, arrived, Sister Regina was elected Prioress 
and Sister Emily Power, sub-Prioress. 

Thus did the latter begin in the community her long years 
of service in an official capacity. Father Mazzuchelli himself 
had recognized her fitness for such duties, and had foreseen 
the Sisters' unwavering trust in her ability to fulfil them, with 
honor to the community and glory to God. 

Previous to Father Mazzuchelli's death the community had 
received thirty-three members. It is interesting to notice that 
twenty-three of these were under twenty years, and eight were 
under twenty-five years of age. Between the date of the 
venerated Founder's death and that of the removal of the 
Convent to Sinsinawa, nineteen new members were admitted 
to the Novitiate. Of those who received the habit during 
Father Mazzuchelli's life, twelve survive, nine in St. Clara's 
community, and three in other Dominican communities. Of the 
pupils in the school at the time of his death there are seven now 
in the community. 

During the years 1865 and 1866, the work was continued 
on the new building until it was under roof and the study- 
hall, recreation-room, refectories, bakeroom and kitchen were 
fit for occupation. On the 15th of August, 1865, a banquet was 
spread, in the new recreation-room, for the community and 
the vacation boarders. This was the first time the building was 
used. Two or three months later the school was moved to the 
new study-hall, and the whole household began to take their 
meals in the new refectories. The old study-hall was trans- 
formed into two dormitories, for there were a hundred and 
ten pupils that year, and sleeping room was in great demand. 

Soon after its establishment in the new building the school 
was regraded, the classes above eighth grade were arranged 



GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 89 

under the titles Second Senior, First Senior, Sub-graduate 
and Graduate, and Sister Benedicta Kennedy was appointed 
Prefect and Directress of the school, a position she held for 
seventeen years. 

The last months of 1866 were spent by Mother Regina and 
Sister Alberta in visiting the mission houses, and in attending 
to business connected with the school. In the mean time. Sister 
Emily governed the community, and taught several of the 
higher classes in the academy. On her return Mother Regina 
contracted a severe cold which rapidly developed into pneu- 
monia, and again the young community had to face one of those 
trials that seem almost unendurable. On April 15th, Monday 
in Passion Week, 1867, Mother Regina died, in the twenty- 
fifth year of her age and the seventh of her religious profession. 
Gifted with more than ordinary intelligence, educated and 
accomplished, she had displayed an aptitude for organization 
and for business that rendered her services to the community 
apparently indispensable, and her loss seemed all but irrep- 
arable. 

Having heard that the Dominican Fathers were about to 
sell the property at Sinsinawa, the Board of Trustees of 
" Benton Female Academy," chartered in 1862, had resolved, 
on March 22, 1867, to purchase said property. Of this Board 
Mother Regina had been President, and in the negotiations for 
the purchase of Sinsinawa, she had been the prime mover. 

The Sisters, having exhausted their means in continuing 
the work on the new building in Benton, had not, comparatively 
speaking, a dollar with which to carry out their design of 
securing Sinsinawa Mound as the future location of their 
academy. Mother Regina had made an appeal to Father 
Mazzuchelli's warm friend and admirer, Mr. William Ryan, 
then of Galena, Illinois, to lend the Sisters the sum required 
for their purpose. To the undying honor of his name among 
St. Clara's religious children, be it said, that he acceded to the 
Sisters' request, and thus enabled them to begin the work 
which now crowns and glorifies '' the Mound." 

To have had the support of Mother Regina's bright intelli- 



90 GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 

gence and keen foresight withdrawn, at such a time, was 
indeed a most painful trial, but in this, as in the hour of their 
former bereavements, they found that the Hand that crushed 
likewise blessed, and that again they were to learn the truth of 
St. Paul's exclamation, *' I can do all things in Him who 
strengthens me." 

On the feast of St. Pius, O. P., May 5, 1867, Sister Emily 
Power was elected Prioress; Sister Alberta Duffy, sub- 
Prioress ; and Sister Josephine Cahill, Sister Gertrude Power, 
and Sister Magdalen Madigan were chosen to be members of 
the Council. This constituted them, with their Superiors, 
members of the Board of Trustees. 

Sinsinawa having been purchased, the college building 
required remodeling to adapt it to the convenience of a com- 
munity of religious women, and of a boarding school for girls. 
Many changes were to be made in the interior, and steam 
heating, which was then in its infancy, was to be introduced 
throughout the building. While, under the superintendence of 
Sister Magdalen, the work of preparation and improvement 
was going on at Sinsinawa, Mother Emily and Sister Alberta 
were engaged, not only in the fulfillment of the duties of their 
important offices, but also in teaching, the former in the class- 
room, the latter in the department of music. 

The last months of the scholastic year fled all too quickly, 
and it was with a feeling of sadness that Sisters and pupils 
saw commencement day approaching. Many loved ones, who 
had been with them three short years before, were gone to 
another life, and the time to be spent at the dear old home 
in Benton was becoming brief. Indeed, July 18, 1867, com- 
mencement day of that year, was really the day of farewell to 
" old St. Clara," for the exodus began immediately after it. 

The first catalogue issued by St. Clara Academy appeared 
that day, and the three who graduated on the occasion were 
the first to receive diplomas. Previous to 1867 only a printed 
prospectus had been issued each year, and graduates had 
received silver medals as a token of their success in having 
finished the course. 




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CHAPTER IX 

ST. CLARA ACADEMY AT SINSINAWA MOUND, 

WISCONSIN 

The Old Stone Building and its Surroundings. — The 
stone building was planned by Father Mazzuchelli, and the 
east wing was constructed under his supervision, reaching 
completion in 1846. For ten years it sufficed for the accom- 
modation of the students and the professors of the Sinsinawa 
College for boys, the Brothers occupying a frame house situated 
near by. 

The Board of Trustees, Rev. T. Jarboe, president; Rev. 
A. O. Walker, vice-president : Rev. S. Mazzuchelli, secretary ; 
Rev. J. Polking, Rev. T. L. Power, and Rev. Benedict For- 
tune, members, at their annual meeting " Resolved, on Sep- 
tember 3, 1855, to erect the w'est end of the college building 
according to the original plan." On the 7th of September, 
1857, the Board of Trustees authorized the president of the 
college. Rev. T. Jarboe, to furnish the new part of the build- 
ing in accordance with the requirements of an increased number 
of students. From this it is evident that the west end of the 
rock building was first occupied in the fall of 1857. Another 
ten years of excellent educational work and of increasing 
prosperity passed, and then there began a distinctively new 
chapter in the history of Sinsinawa. 

The College had required the services of a number of 
Dominican Fathers eminently fitted, not only for the work of 
education, but also for the special and distinctive work of the 
Order, the giving of Missions. The demand for missionary 
laborers was yearly increasing, and the Province of St. Joseph 
needed for that work every priest at its command. In accord- 
ance, then, with the expressed wish of the Superiors residing 
at Rome, the Board of Trustees of Sinsinawa College, Very 

91 



92 GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 

Rev. D. J. Meagher, president, Rev. Jos. Turner, vice-president, 
at their eighteenth annual and thirty-third special meeting, 
resolved, on February 24, 1866, to offer the property and build- 
ings at Sinsinawa for sale. The Board of Trustees of St. Clara 
Female Academy, at Benton, Wisconsin, determined to pur- 
chase the property, and carried their design into effect on March 
31, 1867. 

The remodeling of the building, w^hich began at once, was 
finished some time in the summer, and in August, the furniture, 
with other portable possessions of the community, was moved 
from Benton to the Mound. The Sisters hopefully, yet with 
sadness and regret, departed from the old home, so dear 
because of its sacred memories, and took up their abode in the 
new one, not less sacred to memory, since it had been the scene 
of Father Mazzuchelli's first educational labors. 

Everything being in readiness, the new St. Clara Academy 
opened its doors to pupils on the first Monday of September, 
1867. Twenty-one years before this date the community had 
been founded here at Sinsinawa ; now, after a sojourn of fifteen 
years in Benton, it had returned to be re-established at Sin- 
sinawa, the spot so dear to Father Mazzuchelli and so inti- 
mately associated with his brightest hopes and noblest plans. 

The church that he had erected in 1842 and in which he 
had so often officiated, was used by the Sisters, in 1867, and 
for several succeeding years, as a chapel. There, where Father 
Samuel, as he is affectionately called, had chanted the Divine 
Office with his brethren, the Sisters chanted the Office of the 
Blessed Virgin. Before that altar, on which he had so fre- 
quently offered the Holy Sacrifice, they knelt in daily prayer; 
and in that sanctuary, where, in his presence, the first four 
Sisters had made their religious profession, one hundred and 
forty members of the community, in annual groups of ten or 
more, received the habit and made their vows. 

There being no room in the academy large enough to 
accommodate a commencement day audience, the erection of 
a hall for the purpose was a necessity; hence the structure 
still in use on public occasions was erected in 1868, between 



GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 93 

the church and the academy, about forty feet from the latter. 
When preparations were made to build the new convent, in 
1899, the hall was moved to its present location, southwest of 
the church. 

The rock building, in 1867, was three stories in height, with 
a dormer half story and a frame observatory consisting of two 
low stories, one room in each. The first floor of the building 
comprised the parlors, the refectories, the kitchen, the guests' 
dining-room, and what was called in those days " the office." 
This was for ten years the only place in the house, besides their 
dormitory, that the Sisters could claim as their own. It was 
a narrow, dark room, having only two small north windows 
so high up that one could see from them only the sky and 
the top of the Mound, but it was a place of happy hours, of 
sweet associations, and of delightful companionship. 

The second story comprised the study-hall in the west end, 
and in the east end, the recreation-room, the cabinet of school 
apparatus, and the Superior's office, affectionately called 
" Mother's room." On the third floor, west, were eight music- 
rooms, four on each side of the corridor. By means of folding 
doors each four could be thrown into one large hall, when 
required for musical entertainments. In the southeast corner of 
that story were the Minims' school-room and the two harp- 
rooms, abodes of beauty and song, of flowers and vines, rooms 
very dear to memory. On the other side of the corridor were 
the Minims' dormitory and a small class-room. The Seniors' 
dormitory occupied the western part and the Juniors' the east- 
ern part of the fourth floor. The observatory was used as a 
studio during the school session, but in the long vacation, it 
was the favorite refuge of Mission Sisters having a particularly 
studious, literary, or artistic turn of mind. The view from its 
balconies was impressive beyond description, whether one stood 
beneath the blue sky of day, or the starry sky of night. This 
old land-mark on memory's pleasant ways no longer exists, its 
removal having been necessitated by recent improvements. 

The front entrance of the old building is still approached by 
four broad, limestone steps, with iron balustrades, but in the 



I 



94 GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 

old days, it opened into a wide hall, dividing the house into 
east and west parts. The great double front door and the 
somewhat less pretentious back door, opposite to it, were both 
wide open all day in the summer months, making '' the old 
front hall " a most agreeable rendezvous for convent visitors, 
as well as for convent inmates, and many are the treasured 
memories connected with the after-dinner recreation hour, so 
often spent there in joyous intercourse with our Superior and 
our Sisters. 

The community had the pleasant custom, in the summer 
evenings, of gathering in groups on the front steps of the rock 
building for conversation, or for singing to the accompaniment 
of the guitar. By the Mission Sisters, home in July and 
August, those gatherings were ranked among the most delight- 
ful relaxations of the long vacation. 

Precious also to memory are the meetings that used to take 
place on the lawn, outside the east door of the pupils' refectory, 
for there the Sisters, as they came from the chapel after 
Vespers and Complin, had the pleasant custom of lingering 
on the grass, or on the steps, awaiting the sound of the supper 
bell, and of engaging meanwhile in joyous recreation. 

The terrace in front of the stone building, and the flight 
of wooden steps leading from it to the driveway, are unchanged 
except that the walk on the terrace which was then covered 
with beautiful white shells now presents a less poetic, but more 
durable, surface of gray concrete. At that time the principal 
entrance to the grounds was at the termination of the avenue 
bordered by evergreen trees. These were planted by the Fathers 
soon after Father Mazzuchelli gave up the college; they still 
rear their stately forms skyward and make " the Pinery " a 
distinctive feature of St. Clara's immediate environment. East 
of " the Pinery " is a bit of low land through which there ran, 
in early years, a small stream of crystal waters having its 
source in a spring that, imprisoned in a rough stone structure 
called the Spring House, kept the butter and milk cool, and 
supplied the entire household with drinking water. 

Poetic reflections and romantic comments might be made 



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GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 95 

on the varied fortunes and the many transformations of " the 
old stone building," were it the subject of a novelist's pen. 
Three times since it Was purchased by the Sisters it has been 
remodeled to suit the changing requirements of an increasing 
school and community, and its history is not yet closed.- 
Planned and in part built by Father Mazzuchelli, in 1846, it 
served as a Novitiate House for Dominican Missionaries until 
1849. ^^ 1855 it was completed by Rev. J. Jarboe, O.P., and 
from 1849 until 1867 it was a college for boys. Purchased by 
the Sisters in 1867, it served as both convent and academy 
until 1882; fromf that date until 1901 it was used almost 
entirely as a convent; since 1901 it has formed a department 
of the academy and the community does not use any part of it. 

Its old gray walls must be permeated with psychical 
essences. If these could be materialized and made to speak as 
rational beings, how varied and how impressive the stories they 
would tell of the years so rich and fruitful that have elapsed 
between 1846 and 1904. 

The First Ten Years at Sinsinawa. — The placing of 
the foundation stones is at once the most difficult and the most 
important work to be accomplished in the building of any 
massive material structure. Of the erection of intellectual and 
spiritual edifices this is no less true. In the establishment of 
religious and educational institutions, the beginning is always 
a time of arduous struggle against a multitude of opposing 
forces. 

The first ten years at Sinsinawa were marked by those 
severe labors, excessive hardships, and torturing inconveniences 
that have been experienced by every well established com- 
munity in the days of its youth. And yet, no other years of 
those spent at the IMound are so warmly and lovingly remem- 
bered by the Sisters who have survived them. 

Memory cherishes the rugged virtues of those times, and 
rejoices in a success based upon an almost heroic endurance 
of physical stress and mental strain. There was a woeful 
absence of reasonable recreation, of permissible rest, and of 
advisable comforts for the body ; while the soul received its 



96 GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 

needed grace and strength directly from God, as it were, for 
the mediums He loves to use were not then available : spiritual 
privileges were few, and consisted in the essentials commanded 
by the Church. Yet through all those trying years there was 
a spirit of joy, of love, and of unity, that rendered every labor 
easy, and every hardship sweet. 

The pupils of those years, because of the limited accommo- 
dations, were brought into close contact with the community, 
and had favorable opportunities to observe the spirit of devo- 
tion and self-sacrifice that animated its members, hence the bond 
between them and the Sisters was of a deep and tender nature 
that has been to both, through all the intervening years, a joy 
and a benediction. The school prospered. The very first year 
at the Mound it numbered one hundred and fifteen pupils, and 
among them, ten states, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, 
Nebraska, Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, Pennsylvania and 
Georgia, were represented. During the first ten years, 1867 to 
1877, besides the above states, California, Dakota, Colorado, 
Michigan, Ohio, New York, Massachusetts and Connecticut 
were represented. In recent years Montana, Wyoming, New 
Mexico, Washington, District of Columbia and Canada have 
been added to the list of St. Clara's patrons. 

During this first decade the community had been steadily 
increasing its numbers and rapidly extending the field of its 
labors ; eighty-five new members had been received and sixteen 
new foundations had been made. These new missions were the 
Immaculate Conception Convent, in North Chicago; St. 
Joseph's, in Mineral Point, Wisconsin; St. Mary's of the 
Lake, Kenosha, Wisconsin ; St. Clement's, Galena, Illinois ; 
St. Albertus, Waukegan, Illinois ; St. Regina's, Madison, Wis- 
consin; St. Catherine's, Austin, Minnesota; St. Mary's, Free- 
port, Illinois ; St. Jarlath's, West Chicago ; St. Mary's, Dixon, 
Illinois ; St. Joseph's, Bloomington, Illinois ; St. Mary's, 
Whitewater, Wisconsin; St. Mary's, Evanston, Illinois, and 
St. Patrick's, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 

For the first three years at Sinsinawa the commJunity was 
spared any loss by death, but, in 1870 and in 1872, Sister 




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GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 97 

Ambrose McNamara and Sister Genevieve Reynolds, both 
eminently lovely in character and gifted in mind, were stricken 
with quick consumption and died in the midst of their useful- 
ness. Both were young in years and in religion, and both had 
distinguished themselves not only as pupils of " old St. Clara," 
in Benton, but as efficient members of the community at Sin- 
sinawa. Their loss was a grievous trial. 

Only two others died during the period of ten years, two 
novices, Sister Emerentia Welsh, a dear child only nineteen 
years of age, and Sister Elegius Braley, aged twenty- four 
years, a noble woman of generous nature, who is remembered 
not only among St. Clara's members, but among her benefac- 
tors, for it was means bequeathed by her to the community that 
enabled them to build the principal part of the present academy. 

As this first term of years drew to a close, St. Clara's com- 
munity began to rise above the mere drudgery of life, and to 
look upwards to the attainment of those things which, as 
Dominicans, they had inherited from a holy and honorable 
ancestry. 

The Visit of St. Clara's Superiors to Rome. — The 
notable increase of the number of Branch H'ouses widely 
scattered through the Western states, had created among the 
Mission Sisters a desire that some definite and binding law 
might be made governing their dependence upon St. Clara 
Convent. The community felt that this momentous question 
could be best presented to the Dominican authorities in Rome 
by the Superiors of the community in person, hence Mother 
Emily, Prioress, and Sister Alberta, sub-Prioress, visited the 
Eternal City, in the autumn of 1877, for this purpose. 

Everything that could contribute to their comfort and 
expedite their mission was arranged for them through the 
generous eflforts of the Dominican Fathers at the Alinerva. 
They also received many kind attentions from the Irish Domini- 
cans at San Clemente, where dwelt, at that time, the widely 
known and greatly revered, Father Malooly, O.P. 

Their acquaintance with the Italian language, first made 
under Father Mazzuchelli's tuition, was an advantage that 



98 GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 

greatly lessened their loneliness in a strange land, and hastened 
very considerably the accomplishrnent of their mission to Rome. 
Their messages from abroad to the Sisters at St. Clara, though 
not without minor tones of homesickness, were full of encour- 
agement and of a great spiritual joy. From one of these letters, 
sent after their audience with our Holy Father the Pope, the 
following extract is taken : " This has been one of the memor- 
able days of our life, one to be treasured as a sweet remem- 
brance for future years, when those who come after us will 
read with joy and pride the special blessing sent by Pius IX. 
to his children at St. Clara. This morning the Very Rev. 
Father San Vito told us that he would present us to the Holy 
Father. At eleven, we went to the Minerva, where we found 
that we were not to be alone, for, as the Very Rev. Father said, 
we had ' a corona of Dominicans ' to accompany us." Here 
follows an eloquent description of the Vatican and of its saintly 
inmate. Then : " Had St. Peter been in our midst we could 
not have felt a more confiding faith, a more reverential love, 
than we experienced when Pius IX. appeared before us. Our 
good friend, the Very Rev. Father San Vito, was at our side 
securing special blessings for all in the Dominican group and 
special words of encouragement for the two Sisters whom he 
said the spirit of Religion had led across the seas. When told 
that we were from America, the Holy Father showed the great- 
est interest, and after speaking of St. Dominic and of the power 
of the Holy Rosary, gave us the Apostolic Benediction." 

A successor to the Most Rev. A. V. Jandel, Master General 
of the Dominican Order, recently deceased, had not yet been 
elected. The Vicar General, Very Rev. J. M. San Vito, gov- 
erned the Order in the mean time, and to him the American 
Sisters were indebted for many signal favors, and for an untir- 
ing interest in the affairs that had occasioned their visit to 
Rome. It was he who obtained for them the audience with 
the Holy Father. He also secured their admission to the 
Roman convents of enclosed Dominican Nuns, that they might 
see the observance of the Dominican Rule in its perfection. 

Moreover, in response to the petition of the Mission com- 




The Convent Tower from Which Peai.s Forth the Great Beli, 'Albertus Magnus' 










The Old Spring House 
'Smooth runs the water where the brook is deep." 



GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 99 

munities, that they might be secured in their dependence upon 
St. Clara's Convent, he constituted the Mother ELouse at Sin- 
sinawa and its Branch Houses, in various dioceses of America, 
a united body, and named it *' The Dominican Congregation of 
the Most Holy Rosary." 

In memory of the conferring of this beautiful title upon 
their congregation, the Sisters brought with them from Rome 
a copy of Sassoferrato's masterpiece, " Our Lady of the Rosary, 
with St. Dominic and St. Catherine." This picture is now 
venerated in St. Qara's chapel. 

The two Sisters who had journeyed so far to secure the 
stability and the religious advancement of their community had 
seen, on their way to Rome, the effectual working of the Rule 
in a well-known convent, where they had the pleasure and the 
advantage of a short sojourn. This was the House at Stone, 
England, where dwells a community of the Third Order of 
St. Dominic, much like our own in its circumstances and 
requirements. 

This visit to the convent of Mother Margaret Halloran, 
the home of Mother Raphael Drane, and of a community 
widely known for its fervent zeal in good works of all kinds, 
and for its staunch loyalty to Dominican traditions, produced 
in the hearts of the two American religious a sincere and lov- 
ing veneration for their English Sisters, and also an increased 
esteem for the superior opportunities enjoyed by their own 
community, in its work for souls, in glorious, free America. 

In connection with their visit to England, the Sisters recall 
with peculiar pleasure the gracious kindness of Cardinal 
Howard. 

Not content with having obtained so many favors for the 
voluntary exiles, the Very Rev. Father San Vito gave serious 
attention to the consideration of the Constitutions by which the 
Congregation of the Holy Rosary would in future be governed. 
His counsel and direction in regard to the adaptation of the 
Rule to new conditions were most valuable to the Superiors, 
in this their most responsible undertaking. 

The blessed sojourn of the Superiors in Rome and their 



loo GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 

happy return to America, bearing with them many sacred gifts 
and privileges for the community, seemed to open a new era 
in the history of St. Clara. 

The adaptation of the Rule to the government of a con- 
gregation, instead of a community, was immediately put in 
operation. The compiling of the Constitutions, and the test- 
ing of their practicability, awakened every mind to their impor- 
tance, and stirred every heart with zeal for their solemn 
approval by the Church. A delay in obtaining the much- 
desired approval was occasioned, however, from time to time 
by the death of important personages who, as friends of the 
community, were particularly interested in the matter, or who 
by virtue of their office were concerned in hastening it to 
a happy issue. His Holiness Pius IX. died just after the 
Sisters left Rome. Then the Very Rev. Father San Vito, O.P., 
the Very Rev. Father Bianchi, O.P., and His Eminence 
Cardinal Howard were summoned by death to leave their broad 
fields of sacred usefulness. Thus were the Sisters deprived of 
the most earnest promoters of their cause. But before long 
new friends began to put forth helpful hands, and the hopes 
of the community approached realization. 

In 1881, accompanied by his Socius, Rev. J. J. Carberry, 
O.P., afterwards Bishop of Hamilton, Ontario, the Most Rev. 
Joseph Maria Larroca, the recently elected Master General of 
the Order of Preachers, visited St. Clara, and, showing the 
profoundest interest in everything concerning the institution 
and the community, expressed his paternal pleasure that an 
American branch, so robust and wide-spreading, should be 
drawing its sustenance from the venerable Dominican tree 
firmly rooted for centuries in the City of the Popes. 

To have become united with the very source of Dominican 
life and principle, and to have been placed in intimate com- 
munication with the fountainhead of Dominican traditions was 
the attainment of the community's highest earthly ambition, 
as it was also the realization of one of Father Mazzuchelli's 
highest ideals for the institute he had founded. 

The White Habit. — After the return of the Superiors 




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from Rome, the exact observance of the beautiful Dominican 
customs in the recitation of the office, and the wearing of the 
white habit were among the first evidences of the community's 
advancement towards its long-cherished desire for conformity 
to the letter as well as to the spirit of Dominican customs. 

August 4, 1880, was a memorable day for the Dominican 
Congregation of the Most Holy Rosary, for it restored to its 
members the beloved habit of the Order, and made them in 
appearance, as well as in heart and mind, true daughters of St. 
Dominic. 

Many of the Mission Sisters had assembled at the Mother 
House for the annual retreat; others made the retreat at 
Bethlehem Academy, Faribault, Minnesota, and at the Con- 
vent of the Immaculate Conception, Chicago, Illinois, At St. 
Clara, on the morning of August 4th, the feast of St. Dominic, 
the retreat closed after the first Mass. The Sisters had received 
Holy Communion, dressed in the complete Dominican habit, 
which consists of a white robe, white scapular, black mantle, 
and black veil, with white lining. Later in the morning there 
was a Solemn High Mass, after which ten young ladies began 
their novitiate by being clothed in the white habit and receiving 
the white veil. 

Rt. Rev. T. L. Grace, O.P., Bishop of St. Paul, Minnesota, 
was the celebrant of the Mass; Father Joseph Jarboe, O.P., 
was deacon; Father M. Lilly, O.P., sub-deacon; Father J. 
Collins, O.P., master of ceremonies ; and the sermon was 
preached by the eloquent Bishop of Dubuque, Rt. Rev. J. J. 
Hennessy, D.D. 

In the afternoon, the Convent Cemetery at Sinsinawa was 
consecrated by Bishop Grace, assisted by Bishop Hennessy. 
Previous to this time, the deceased Sisters had been taken to 
Benton for burial ; since August 4, 1880, they have been 
interred at Sinsinawa, but always they have been buried in the 
white habit, even when the community wore the black. 

A pleasant reunion in the evening, after Benediction of the 
Most Blessed Sacrament, closed this most happy day at the 
Mother House. 



I02 GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 

In Faribault, where the Sisters from the Minnesota houses 
were assembled, the beautiful occasion was celebrated with 
great solemnity and joy. In Chicago the Sisters from the 
houses in that diocese were gathered at the Convent of the 
Immaculate Conception. There was Solemn High Mass at ten 
o'clock in the Church of the Immaculate Conception, of which 
Rev. P. T. Butler, of saintly memory, was then pastor. Very 
Rev. Dr. McMullen, at that time administrator of the Chicago 
Diocese, was the celebrant; Rev. Thomas Cashman, pastor of 
St. Jarlath's Church, was deacon; Rev. A. Bergeron, now 
pastor of the Church of Notre Dame, was sub-deacon; Rev. 
D. Riordan, pastor of St. Elizabeth's Church, then Chancellor 
of the Diocese, was master of ceremonies, and preached to a 
congregation that filled the sacred edifice to its utmost capacity. 

Thus did Holy Mother Church aid her lowly religious 
children. Home Sisters and Mission Sisters, with the glory 
of her ritual and the generous kindness of her clergy, to cele- 
brate befittingly the all-important event of their adoption of 
the white robe that has been worn by Dominicans in all parts 
of the world for seven hundred years. May it be worn as long 
a time by Dominicans at the Mound. For Sinsinawa would 
seem to have been especially called into existence to serve 
as the location of a religious and educational institution, so 
perfectly is it adapted to all the needs of such an establishment, 
and to all the requirements of its inmates, whether as to their 
necessities, their tastes, or their pleasures. 

For the home of a Dominican community the spot is ideal, 
affording convenience for strict observance of the Rule, and 
opportunity for the noble development of body and soul. 

At Sinsinawa, nature especially rich in her beauty and 
lavish in the bestowal of her gifts, aids powerfully in uplifting 
the heart and inspiring the soul of the religious. A mani- 
festation of this sanctifying intimacy with nature may be seen 
in the mystic loveliness of summer-vacation evenings. Groups 
of white-robed Sisters gather here and there on the lawn, 
under the trees, on the grassy slopes of the Mound, amid the 
gray limestone rocks, or among the graves in the cemetery, 




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GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 103 

making beautiful pictures that impress themselves forever on 
the memory of the world-weary hearts of chance visitors. 

The Second Decade of Years. — The old stone building, 
so commodious at first, had become gradually crowded and 
inconvenient ; year after year, the necessity for a new academy 
became more and more apparent. 

The ground was broken in 1880 for its foundation, and the 
walls were beginning to rise at the time of the Master General's 
visit in 1881. Qr^ the feast of All Dominican Saints, Novem- 
ber 9, 1882, the building was complete, and was dedicated with 
solemn ceremonies. In a sense it was consecrated, so great was 
the number of Masses offered in the new chapel by the many 
clergymen, friends of the institution, who had assembled at St. 
Clara to assist in celebrating the great occasion of the presenta- 
tion of her new building to God. 

Every part of the great brick edifice was blest, even the 
golden cross on the summit of the tower was reached by ladder 
and sprinkled with Holy Water, and the bell within the tower 
was christened. This bell, inscribed with its name '* Albertus 
Magnus," was a present to Sister Alberta Duffy from a number 
of young men whom she had taught more than ten years 
before, as Sunday School pupils and Sodality boys, in Benton. 
The bell still sends forth its solemn peal, over the Mound 
and through the valleys at its base, announcing the Angelus, 
the daily Mass, and the evening Office. For the burial of the 
dead it tolls, and for the reception and profession of new mem- 
bers it peals forth joyously, but ever and always, it speaks to 
the old Sisters of Sister Alberta and the generous boys. 

Following the dedication came the exodus of the pupils 
from the old building to the new one, leaving the former almost 
entirely to the use of the Sisters. The school was reorganized 
and the attendance became greatly increased. The beauty of 
the grounds which had been almost entirely demolished by the 
work on the building, was speedily restored under the efficient 
superintendence of Sister ]\Iagdalen Madigan, whose inde- 
fatigable attention had materially aided in bringing the new 
building to a satisfactory completion. 



I04 GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 

In the midst of their increased prosperity, St. Clara's 
inmates were called upon to endure a great sorrow. In August, 
1883, Sister Alberta, sub-Prioress and Mistress of Novices, 
beloved of the community and the school, fell seriously ill. 
For four months she suffered with heroic patience the torture 
of unceasing pain, and on the morning of December 4th, she 
gave her grand soul into the hands of God. 

Her gifted pen would never again express the noble 
thoughts of her beautiful mind. The hands that had wrought 
so skillfully in the fields of beauty, and had so often woven 
loving adornment about the Altar of God, were cold and life- 
less. The glorious voice that had never been spared in the 
innocent entertainment or spiritual elevation of the human 
heart, was silent. For twenty years she had been associated 
with St. Qara's nearest and dearest interests. Amid all the 
hopes and fears, the hard endurance and the weary struggle, 
that had followed Father Mazzuchelli's death, she and Mother 
Emily had been companions. Her death seemed to close an era 
in St. Clara's history. 

The office, so long and so efficiently held by Sister Alberta 
and made vacant by her death, was awaiting a new incumbent, 
hence in the spring of 1884 Sister Reginald Keane, Superior 
of St. Joseph's Convent, Bloomington, Illinois, was appointed 
Mistress of Novices, and was elected sub-Prioress, a responsi- 
bility to which she was re-elected each year until the first 
General Chapter was held in 1889, after which she was 
appointed Prioress of the Mother House for two successive 
terms of three years each. 

Painful trials were not wanting, nor were great difficulties 
lacking, in the experience of the community during those years 
of transition that elapsed between the visit to Rome and the 
approval of the new Constitutions, but there was a wounded 
right Hand supporting, and a wounded Heart consoling, while 
the Heavenly Father blessed and guarded all. 

In the mean time the home picture most familiar to the 
gaze and to the memory of the Sisters was the venerable form 
of Sister Ignatia Fitzpatrick, bending before the pictures of 




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GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 105 

the Stations of the Cross. At three o'clock in the morning 
wakeful persons would hear her stealing very quietly from 
the dormitory to the chapel. At that early hour she began her 
daily round of prayer, and no one ever discovered just how 
many times, between three in the morning and eight in the 
evening, she went " round the Stations," nor how often she 
" said her beads," but all the Sisters knew that, excepting at 
those times when the regular routine of the house required the 
whole community to assemble elsewhere, there was no hour 
when one might not find the dear little old Sister in the chapel. 
She died quite suddenly but fully prepared, on May 14, 1886. 
Of the original four, " the corner-stones," she was the second to 
die. She had labored for thirteen years at '* the Mound," when 
the boys' college was there, and subsequently, for at least eigh- 
teen years, she performed responsible duties in the convent at 
Benton. Then, relieved of all labors and duties, she took up 
her abode in the Mother House, at Sinsinawa, and there for 
fifteen years, she prayed almost constantly. Death could not 
surprise one like her, however suddenly it might make its 
appearance. 

Joy and sadness are ever succeeding each other in this 
life. While yet grieving for Sister Ignatia, the Sisters began 
to plan for an event, in which no one would have been more 
interested than the dear old Sister herself, had she lived. This 
was the Silver Jubilee of St. Clara's beloved Superior. 

On August 15, 1886, occurred the twenty-fifth anniversary 
of the religious profession of Sister M. Emily Power, who 
had been for nineteen years the Prioress of St. Clara's com- 
munity. Governing the Sisterhood with loving devotedness 
she had been the bond under God that had held them together, 
in harmony and in zealous labor, during the critical period of 
the community's severe struggles with poverty and death. The 
Sisters felt that her Jubilee could not be celebrated with too 
much solemnity, nor with too much exultant joy, hence on her 
patronal feast day, August 17th, many Sisters representing the 
branch houses, joined the Hpme Sisters at St. Clara, and, in 
union with many friends among the clergy and the laity, did 



io6 GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 

honor to the event by prayer, by affectionate congratulations, 
by earnest good wishes, and by the presentation of beautiful 
and costly gifts. 

The offering of many Masses sanctified the early hours 
of the blessed day, and a cable from Rome, " The Holy Father 
and the Master General bless the Jubilee of Mother Emily," 
made all hearts glad. 

At intervals throughout the day dispatches came bearing 
the greetings and congratulations of many friends. At the 
Benediction Service in the evening, was used, for the first time, 
the handsome monstrance, still in use, one of the costliest and 
most acceptable of the many rich Jubilee gifts. 

After the banquet in the evening a program of vocal and 
instrumental music was beautifully rendered. The entertain- 
ment closed with the reading of the addresses presented in 
behalf of the various Mission Communities then existing. 

These written tokens of love and respect were as follows : 

(Only one introduction is sriven, as all were alike, except the name of the diocese.) 

From the Dominican Sisters of the Diocese of St. Paul to 
Sister M. Emily, Superior of the Congregation of the 
Most Holy Rosary — 

Greetings — The Divine Sufferer lifts to H^is Sacred Heart 
to-day a cross twined with the flowers and thorns of twenty- 
five years of patient self-sacrifice and of heroic devotion to 
duty. That divine love will transform this cross into a glorious, 
eternal crown is the belief and hope, dear Mother, of your lov- 
ing Sisters of the Diocese of St. Paul. 

Greetings — A garland of twenty-five lilies is laid at our 
Lord's feet to-day. That their golden pollen may be scattered 
over many earth-gardens in years to come, and that their fra- 
grance may delight you during your eternal beatitude, dear 
Mother, is the wish of your devoted Sisters of the Arch- 
diocese of Chicago. 

Greetings — A halo of twenty-five beams of radiant light, 
the reflection of twenty-five years of God's special love, ilium- 




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GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 107 

ines to-day our Mother's brow. That this brightness is the 
promise of an unfading and eternal glory is the belief and 
hope, dear Mother, of your devoted Sisters of the Diocese of 
Green Bay. 

Greetings — As we gaze through the silvery mists that lie 
between us and the golden past, we hear Memory's voice 
sweetly and solemnly repeating a life poem of twenty-five 
thrilling stanzas, each of the twelve fair lines a history in itself ; 
each of the thirty words an essential part of the general har- 
mony ; the twenty-four syllables but lovely divisions of the 
perfect whole ; the sixty letters of each word the symbols of 
sounds dear to the ear of God. The noontide splendor of 
earthly existence, a promise of glowing sunset hues, is shining 
on this poem, inscribed on the tablets of the Recording Angel, 
and while rejoicing in the perfect day, we look with hopeful- 
ness and fond trust to the dawn of that other day which shall 
have no end, and during which earth's sacred poems will be 
repeated by the saints, and earth's holy hymns chanted by 
angelic choirs. May we all then meet, dear Mother, to cele- 
brate for eternity a heavenly Jubilee. This is the wish of your 
faithful children of the Diocese of Peoria. 

Greetings — ■ The Divine Master garners to-day twenty- 
five sheaves of priceless grain, each head laden with rich 
treasures of seed, the harvest of twenty-five laborious years. 
Labor there must have been to make the golden grain so rich 
and abundant, labor of willing human hands, the moisture of 
human tears, and the sunshine of God's love and grace. That 
we may all be united with you, dear Mother, at the Eternal 
Banquet, is the wish of your exiled children of the distant 
Archdiocese of Baltimore. 

The Greetings of the Home Sisters and of the Mission 
Sisters laboring in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, were em- 
bodied in the address made on the presentation to Mother 
Emily, from the whole congregation, of side altars for the new 
chapel. 



io8 GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 

Among the numerous beautiful gifts of silver and of gold for 
the chapel were two personal offerings of remarkable beauty. 
One was a memorial album, of folio size, very richly bound, 
containing a brief history of St. Clara's Academy, of the com- 
munity, and of the Branch Houses. The printing is entirely 
ornamental penwork, and the margins of each page are beauti- 
fully and artistically illuminated, after the manner of the grand 
monastic work of the Middle Ages. The other personal gift 
was a Spiritual Bouquet, an illuminated, pen-printed record 
of the almost numberless prayers and sacred offerings that 
had been made for the beloved Superior during her Jubilee 
year. Next to the altars for the service of God, this sweet 
offering of faithful, reverent affection was the most precious 
of the Jubilee gifts. This occasion marked with a holy, happy 
character the close of another ten years of St. Clara's history 
at the Mound. 

During this second decade of the community's existence at 
Sinsinawa, the following Branch Houses had been opened: 
the Holy Rosary Convent, Minneapolis, Minnesota ; St. Mary's, 
El Paso, Illinois; St. Augustine's, Chilton, Wisconsin; Our 
Lady of Perpetual Help, Rockford, Illinois ; St. Thomas', Hyde 
Park, Chicago ; St. James', Lemont, Illinois ; Sacred Heart of 
Mary Academy, Washington, D. C. ; and Sacred Heart Acad- 
emy (Edgewood), Madison, Wisconsin. 

Space does not permit a special mention of each Sister who 
has been called to eternal rest. We have confined ourselves 
to the mention of those who, having received the habit from 
Father Mazzuchelli, might be ranked with the founders of the 
community. 

On the beautiful feast of the Immaculate Conception, in the 
year 1888, the Mission community of St. Joseph's Academy, in 
Holy Trinity parish, Bloomington, Illinois, was cast into pro- 
found grief by the death of their Superior, Sister Imelda 
Hertsog. She was one of the first little band of Sisters who 
aided in the advancement of St. Clara's Academy in Benton, 
Her fine intellectual powers and her musical gifts had rendered 




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GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 109 

her a most valuable member, whose place, left vacant by death, 
it was difficult to fill. 

Death, so gracious as to the numbers he claimed during the 
first ten years at the Mound, seemed to have his revenge in 
this decade, from 1877 to 1888, for he reaped a perfect harvest 
of gifted young Sisters, all from the missions, diminishing 
the community on earth by twenty members. Conditions in 
Western towns and hom'es have changed ; school buildings 
have improved, so also has the health of the Sisters, and the 
result is an increased longevity. Epochs during which death 
seems to triumph have been a feature of the history of every 
community, civil as well as religious. 

The Sisterhood at Sinsinawa had been increased, from 1877 
to 1888, by the reception of one hundred and sixty-four new 
members. The school had steadily advanced in numbers and 
in educational attainments, the result of increased physical 
comforts, and of multiplied intellectual advantages. 

The Third Decade of Years. — For twenty-five years the 
feast of Blessed Emily Bicchieri, August 17th, had been cele- 
brated with special joy by St. Clara's community, because of 
its patronal relation to a beloved Superior. In 1888, a new 
glory was added to its beautiful significance, for on that date, 
as may be seen by referring to the chapter on the Rule, the 
Constitutions were signed by Cardinal Simeoni, Prefect of the 
Propaganda, who thereby witnessed to the fact that our Holy 
Father, Leo XIII., had given them his approval, on July 29th 
of that same year. 

When the glad news reached the Sisters, there was great 
rejoicing and many fervent expressions of deep gratitude to 
God arose from every heart. The event was prayerfully and 
joyfully celebrated in all the Houses of the Congregation. 

The decree of approval did not reach St. Clara until after 
the Sisters who were at the Mother House for the summer 
vacation had dispersed to the various mission schools, hence 
all formalities relating to the matter were postponed till the 
following year, when the first General Chapter of the Con- 



no GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 

gregation took place, on August lo, 1889, at St. Clara Convent, 
the Mother House of the Dominican Congregation of the Most 
Holy Rosary. In accordance with instructions received from 
the Procurator General, Very Rev. Father Bianchi, all members 
who had been professed three or more years, constituted the 
Vocals in this Chapter. 

The Mass of the Holy Ghost wias celebrated, at which all 
the Vocals received Holy Communion. At 9 a. m., at the sound 
of the convent bell, they assembled in the chapter-room and 
proceeded to the election, at which Rev. J. A. Bokel, O.P., 
presided. Sister M. Emily Power was elected Mother General 
of the Congregation. At the close of the election the official 
statement of the proceedings was sent to His Eminence Car- 
dinal Mazzella, Protector of the Congregation. 

In an early and most kindly reply the Cardinal Protector 
assured the community of his warm interest in all that con- 
cerned the Dominican Congregation of the Most Holy Rosary, 
at Sinsinawa, Wisconsin, and informed the Sisters that Mother 
Emily's election had been confirmed by the Sacred Congrega- 
tion of the Propaganda. 

The spiritual structure of the Sisterhood at Sinsinawa 
having been placed on so solid a foundation of unity among 
themselves, and of union with the Order in Rome, temporal 
requirements once more engaged the attention of the authori- 
ties at the Mother House. 

Among the material improvements made at Sinsinawa none 
ranks higher in importance than the construction of a reservoir, 
and the establishment of an admirable system of waterworks. 

The former was completed and the latter put in operation 
in the summer of 1889, and were widely mentioned in the public 
press. The following is quoted from a Dubuque paper : 

" In addition to the commodious buildings, beautiful 
grounds, and grand surroundings, the Dominican institution 
at Sinsinawa, Wisconsin, has a system of waterworks equal 
to that of any city in the United States. The quality of the 
water is most excellent, and besides the sanitary advantages 




A View of the Buildings from Top of the Mound 




The College Campus 



GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS m 

arising from its plentifulness, there is one still greater in the 
absolute security it affords against loss of life by fire. 

" The plant consists of a complete system of water-mains, 
anti-freezing hydrants, hose-pipes, play-pipes, house-hose, etc. 
The reservoir is on the summit of the Mound, two hundred feet 
above the level on which the building stands, which gives a 
natural pressure that, in case of fire, would force the water 
over the roof. The reservoir is partly blasted out of solid rock, 
and is built up in stone masonry with an arch of brick. The 
whole is lined with cement. The capacity of the reservoir is 
one hundred thousand gallons, and it is filled by steam power 
from two artesian wells, each five hundred feet deep." 

The system of waterworks has an additional value in the 
fact that it makes possible the presence of fountains on the 
grounds, and favors the growth of the rare shrubs and the 
abundance of flowers that border the beautiful terraces and 
lawns. 

No sooner was the much needed supply of water secured 
than other necessities required attention. 

In the following year, an addition to the academy building 
became an imperative need. It required courage and a great 
trust in Divine Providence to incur further indebtedness so 
soon after the completion of the costly waterworks, but the 
demand for more room was too urgent to admit of any hesita- 
tion or delay. In 1890, the foundation of a large addition of 
brick was begun, and the new structure was ready for use in 
1892. 

Only such events took place during the next three years as 
are recorded by angels. The unceasing round of duties in 
school and in choir took its peaceful way, counting for eternity, 
and but little noticed by time. 

In the spring of 1895 the interest of the whole congregation 
was awakened in consideration of the important fact that the 
Mother General's term of office would expire that summer. 

On May 5th the letter of Convocation to the second General 
Chapter was sent to the various houses by the Mother General. 



112 GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 

On August 10, 1895, Rev. A. O. Walker, O.P., presiding, 
the election took place at St. Clara Convent, Sinsinawa, in 
exact accordance with the requirements of the Rule. Sister 
M. Emily Power was almost unanimously elected Mother Gen- 
eral. The report of the Scrutineers and Mother Emily's letter 
of acceptance were sent, as before, to the Cardinal Protector, 
and in due time, the Confirmation of the Sacred Congregation 
of the Propaganda was received. 

After this, the second General Chapter, Mother M. Reginald 
Keane having completed her second term as Prioress of St. 
Clara Convent, was succeeded by Sister M. Bonaventure Tracy, 
who had been Mistress of Novices for six years. Her final 
term as Prioress expires with the Jubilee Year. . 

To increase the buildings at Sinsinawa has always been 
to increase the school, so the demand for more space seems to 
be unceasing. 

The structure of 1882 and 1892 soon proved to be insuffi- 
cient, therefore in 1897 the refectory, recreation-room, and 
chapel, the principal parts of three stories of the structure of 
1882, were considerably enlarged by extending them north- 
ward, thus supplying, temporarily at least, the increased accom- 
modation required. 

An Unfinished Decade. — In the summer of 1898 
occurred an event unique in the history of the community, an 
event of holy import, symbolic of life's highest value, as esti- 
mated in coin of the Kingdom of Heaven. On August 4th 
was celebrated the Golden Jubilee of Sister Josephine Cahill 
and Sister Louise Hayden. Each of them numbered many 
friends among both clergy and laity, hence the concourse of 
guests was great while the religious services and ceremonies 
were most impressive. Gifts came from friends and from 
former pupils, scattered far and wide, gifts bearing assurances 
of loving regard and grateful remembrance. Sister Louise, 
possessing all her powers, physical and mental, still enjoys life 
and fulfils some easy duties at St. Clara; Sister Josephine, 
as will be stated later with details, went to her eternal reward 
five years after her Jubilee. 



GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 113 

On the 1 6th of August of this same year, dear Sister 
Frances McGurk, one of the beloved old Sisters of Benton, 
after years of noble endurance of constant pain, supplemented 
by a long, severe illness, gave her soul into the hands of God, 
by a holy, peaceful death. 

The benefit of the school had been the chief consideration 
with the Sisters for many years ; now the great number of 
candidates in the Novitiate: and the increasing needs of the 
Normal School for their training made it necessary to think 
of the requirements of the community. 

It became evident that there must be another extension 
of the buildings. This led to the erection of the new convent, 
a noble structure of brick with stone trimmings, adjoining the 
rock building on the east. The corner-stone, a gift from Rt. 
Rev. J. J. Hennessy, Archbishop of Dubuque, was laid with 
impressive ceremonies on August 4, 1899, by Rev. Wm. Horan, 
Pastor of St. Mary's Church, Freeport, Illinois. 

Adjoining the new convent on the east is the Sisters' Infirm- 
ary, a building distinct in itself, with pleasant private rooms, 
sunny porches, and a beautiful little chapel. The heating appa- 
ratus and the supply of hot and cold water is independent of 
that in the convent. All the rooms are comfortable and health- 
ful, while a southeastern exposure renders the greater number 
of them extremely pleasant. 

The building of a residence for the chaplain had been long 
in contemplation ; it was accomplished at last in 1899. The 
Rectory is a beautiful little two-story brick edifice, supplied 
with all the modern appliances for health and comfort. It is 
also most charmingly located amid surroundings beautified by 
nature's best and loveliest gifts. 

Before the new convent reached completion death claimed 
one who had taken a most lively interest in its erection. Sister 
M. Gertrude Power, Mother General's sister, to whom Father 
Mazzuchelli himself gave the religious habit in i860, died on 
January 7, 1900. She had been a member of the Council of the 
Community for twenty-four years by an unanimous yearly elec- 
tion ; under the revised Constitutions she had been a member of 



114 GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 

the Council of the Congregation for eleven years. Ab Superior 
of Bethlehem Academy, Faribault, Minnesota, and as Mistress 
of Novices at the Mother House, she, by her invincible charity, 
her beautiful self-effacement, and her sterling good sense, both 
sanctified and dignified her work, personal and official. An 
enlightened piety and a genuine religious spirit distinguished 
her at all times as an example worthy of close imitation, while 
the gentle nobility and gracious sincerity of her character made 
her the object of universal love and confidence. 

Great would have been the holy elation of the dear, departed 
Sisters of Benton days, so long associated in seeking to advance 
the higher interests of the community, could they have been 
present at the blessing of the new convent by His Grace Rt. 
Rev. F. X. Katzer, Archbishop of Milwaukee, on the Feast 
of St. Antoninus, O.P., May lo, 1900. Among the white- 
robed religious and white- veiled novices, the purple-robed 
prelate, accompanied by many priests, moved along the stately 
corridors and up the wide stair-cases, until every room on 
every floor had been blessed. On descending to the first floor, 
at the close of these ceremonies, the procession left the convent 
and took its way to the Sisters' cemetery, where, having 
changed his brilliant vestments of white and gold for the black 
and white of mourning. His Grace blest the great Crucifix that 
had been erected a few weeks previous in the center of that 
garden of peace eternal. 

It is a common saying among religious people that no order 
excels that of St. Dominic in generous fidelity to the souls of 
the faithful departed. It was quite in keeping with this spirit 
of loving loyalty that the holy dead were so sweetly remem- 
bered in the midst of the community's great joy. 

On the following morning the regular routine of duties 
resumed its sway, but every heart was repeating the glad 
refrain " At last our Sisters have a home." Yes, after long 
years of patient endurance of many inconveniences and dis- 
comforts, they have a blessed home, of comfort for the sick, 
peace for the aged, and happiness for the young. 








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GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 115 

So much had been done and Hfe had been such a busy 
affair, the Sisters had scarcely reahzed the flight of years, and 
it was almost with a feeling of surprise that they received the 
letter of Convocation for the Third General Chapter, to be 
held at St. Clara Convent in the summer of 1901. However, 
they gave it very serious consideration, for Mother Emily's 
two terms, of six years each, were about to expire, and it was 
the universal wish of the Sisters that the time should be 
extended. 

When August loth arrived. His Grace of Milwaukee was 
again the honored guest of St. Clara's community; he pro- 
longed his stay for several days, and seemed loath to depart, 
though neither he nor the Sisters anticipated the sad fact that 
it was his farewell visit to his many friends at St. Clara. He 
presided at the Third General Chapter, and Mother Emily 
Power was unanimously elected. 

Previous to this election, the Prioness of the Mother House 
and the Superiors of the Branch Houses, with the approval of 
their communities, petitioned through the Cardinal Protector, 
for a dispensation that they might elect Sister M. Emily Power 
for a third term of six years. The Sacred Congregation of the 
Propaganda granted the dispensation in advance, and con- 
firmed the election of the Mother General soon after the 
General Chapter. 

In the mean time her labors and her responsibilities had 
been constantly increasing, nor have they become less onerous 
during the past three years. 

Rapid progress in educational methods, and the multiplica- 
tion of intellectual requirements, demand that the heads of 
institutions of learning shall be constantly active and alert. 
The Faculty of St. Clara Academy have kept step with every 
advancement made in the educational domain. Her teachers, 
in the various departments, have been afforded every advantage 
-requisite to fit them to rank among the best educators in the 
land. 

Her summer-vacation institutes, as well as her lecture 



ii6 GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 

courses throughout the year, have been conducted by the most 
experienced abihty and promising talent in the field. Her 
course of study has always been comprehensive and thorough. 
Years ago friends, well-informed regarding such matters, 
suggested that St. Clara, because of the advanced course 
pursued by her graduates, should rank as a college. 

The demand for the higher education of woman becoming 
no less urgent in Catholic circles than elsewhere, the faculty 
decided, in 1900, that St. Clara should aid in satisfying that 
demand. 

Application having been made to the legislature of the 
state for required powers and privileges, St. Clara College was 
chartered in 1901 and opened in September, 1902, with a 
freshman class of ten members and a sophomore class number- 
ing twenty-six. At the Jubilee commencement, June, 1904, the 
institution will confer for the first time the degree of Bachelor 
of Arts. 

In the vacation of 1902 preparation was made for the 
accommodation of one hundred and fifty pupils ; in September 
two hundred arrived. The students already occupied every 
part of the three academy buildings, so this unexpected increase 
in the school was provided for by giving over to the use of the 
pupils the greater part of the first floor and the whole of the 
third floor of the new convent. Additional space for sleeping- 
rooms was gained by raising the roof of the stone building, 
which transformed the two low-ceiled, bleak-looking rooms of 
early days, into four bright, airy dormitories, affording ample 
accommodation for at least fifty pupils in addition to those 
already occupying the six large sleeping-apartments and the 
many private rooms. 

St. Clara's first year, 1902-1903, as a college will be memo- 
rable for the brilliant success of the school and the marked 
prosperity of the community. It is like other years in our 
history, however, in having its dark hour and its mingling of 
sorrow with joy. Among several losses by death there was 
one that had a peculiar character of sadness. 




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GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 117 

In the early days of the community no figure was more 
famihar to the people of the little town of Benton than Sister 
Josephine's. To the house of sorrow, sickness, or death, she 
was always sent, and to give comfort and consolation was her 
special grace. She had a genius for sincere friendship, and 
never lost sight of the boy or girl who had once enlisted her 
sympathy or awakened her anxiety. The sinner found it almost 
impossible to resist the influence of her frank rebukes or the 
kindly sternness of her advice. Many a wanderer retraced his 
steps at her request, and many a youth never wandered, because 
heedful of her earnest warnings. 

For fifty-five years she bore the cherished name " Sister 
Josephine," and when on the evening of February i, 1903, 
she peacefully closed her eyes in death, it seemed as if the last 
link with the old life of holy memory had been severed. 

During the period elapsing between 1888 and August, 1904, 
the following Branch Houses have been established : St. John's 
Convent, Plattsmouth, Nebraska ; Immaculate Conception Con- 
vent, Spring Valley, Illinois ; St. Mary's, Appleton, Wisconsin ; 
Holy Rosary, Denver, Colorado; Visitation Convent, South 
Chicago ; St. Rose's, Milwaukee, Wisconsin ; St. Catherine's 
Academy, Jackson, Nebraska ; Holy Rosary Convent, Kewanee, 
Illinois ; St. Dominic's, Kansas City, Missouri ; St. Brendan's, 
South Chicago; Sacred Heart Convent, Eagle Grove, Iowa; 
Sacred Heart Academy, Rockwell, Iowa ; St. Thomas' Paro- 
chial School, Milwaukee, Wisconsin ; and St. Patrick's, Bloom- 
ington, Illinois. 

During the years whose history has just been given death 
has deprived the community of many devoted workers, beauti- 
ful souls, so much needed on earth, according to human views, 
that one wonders why God took them away in their earnest 
youth, in their energetic prime, in their edifying old age. The 
memory of them survives and continues their work in the lives 
of those to whom it is an encouragement and an inspiration. 

There are two calls, however, that thrill the heart of God's 
chosen ones. The call from the Convent to Heaven has indeed 
diminished our numbers, while strengthening our spirit, but 



ii8 GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 

the call from the world to the convent has compensated us for 
our sacred losses, and bountifully multiplied our resources by 
the gift of a rapidly increasing membership distinguished by 
that variety of talent, ability and virtue, that renders a teach- 
ing community a bright bow of promise to the children of 
God's Church. 




CHAPTER X 
THE THIRD ORDER OF ST. DOMINIC 

THE RULE OF THE THIRD ORDER 

The origin of the Third Order is well known to all devout 
Catholics. Dominican Tertiaries are to be found everywhere. 
Father Faber has called the Third Order the " Mystical Garden 
of Saints " ; in it have bloomed such fragrant souls as Rose of 
Lima, and Catherine, the lily of Siena. 

It is with the members of this Order who dwell in convents 
that we are at present concerned. Sisters of the Third Order 
of St. Dominic were leading the conventual life as long ago as 
1255. Scarcely thirty-five years after the death of St. Dominic, 
saintly women gathered around Blessed Emily Bicchieri, that 
they might make the vows of Poverty, Chastity and Obedience, 
and lead a community life in the observance of the Rule of 
St. Augustine, supplemented by the Constitutions of the Sisters 
of Penance, instituted by the Blessed Dominic. 

The Pope who had enrolled the venerable Founder among 
the saints was still seated on the Chair of Peter when the first 
Convent of the Sisters of the Third Order of St. Dominic 
was established by Blessed Emily, in Vercelli, Italy, where a 
Dominican Church and a monastery for priests already existed. 
At all times since that period, convents of the Third Order 
have multiplied in Italy and France. In America, since the 
opening of the nineteenth century. Mother Houses of this 
Order have been established in New York, Ohio, Kentucky, 
Wisconsin, Illinois, California, and Texas. 

In regard to the establishment of a Convent of the Third 
Order in Wisconsin Father Mazzuchelli wrote to the Most Rev. 
A. V. Jandel, Master General of the Order of Preachers, as 
follows : " The promise made by our Holy Father St. Dominic, 
over six hundred years ago, that we should grow numerous 

119 



I20 GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 

among the nations, and that he would help us with his prayers 
before the Lord, has had its full accomplishment. The Sisters 
of the Third Order, with a simple yet wise Rule, are, in their 
services to the Church and in the excellent works of an active 
life, superseding the enclosed Sisters of the Second Order, and 
bid fair to become in America a great part of that numerous 
family alluded to in the prophetic words of our holy Founder." 
The ancient Rule of the Third Order, approved by various 
Pontiffs, especially by Pope Gregory IX., Honorius IV., John 
XXIL, Boniface IX., Innocent VIL, and Eugene IV., was 
simply adapted to the government and direction of persons 
united in one religious society or order, but living in the world 
and engaged in every pursuit in life. When many Sisters of 
this Order began, soon after St. Dominic's death, to live in con- 
vents, they added to the Rule of St. Augustine such regula- 
tions or constitutions as were needed for the good order of the 
community and were best adapted to time or place, and to the 
occupation of the Sisters. But while the constitutions were 
and are thus liable to changes and amendments the approved 
Rule itself, being, as it were, the ground work of the Order, 
has remained for almost seven centuries unchanged. 

THE RULE OF ST. AUGUSTINE 

Long after the institution of St. Benedict had begun to 
flourish in various parts of Europe, we hear of the Rule of 
St. Augustine. The Holy Bishop of Hippo had written a 
letter to certain nuns, giving them directions for their guidance 
in their pursuit of perfection. This letter constitutes the 
famous " Rule." Many orders and congregations founded 
since the thirteenth century have adopted it, among these the 
Dominicans stand foremost. 

The four great monastic rules are those of St. Basil, St. 
Benedict, St. Augustine, and St. Francis. These have been 
variously adapted to the purposes of communities having some 
special charitable aim or educational work in view. 

Father Mazzuchelli selected from the Rule of the Third 



GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 121 

Order such regulations and practices as suited the circum- 
stances of the community in Benton. Having the approbation 
of Most Rev. A. V. Jandel, Master General of the Order of 
Preachers, of Rt. Rev. John M. Henni, Bishop of Milwaukee, 
and of Rt. Rev. James Duggan, Bishop of Chicago, this Rule 
was committed to the Sisters for their observance on Easter 
Sunday, 1859, i^ Benton, Wisconsin. 

This Rule having, under changed circumstances, become 
inadequate, particularly as regarded the government of the 
community, the Superiors were advised by the Very Rev. 
Father San Vito, Vicar General of the Order, to base upon 
the Rule of St. Augustine such a body of Constitutions as 
would provide for the new requirements and aspirations of the 
community, in its new form as a Congregation of Religious 
Houses. 

On the return of Mother Emily and Sister Alberta to St. 
Clara, in March, 1878, the compilation of the Constitutions 
was immediately put under discussion, and when the Superiors 
of the various houses assembled in the vacation of that year 
their suggestions were received. The work progressed slowly 
and carefully, and every point was tested. 

What was then done can be best presented by a reproduc- 
tion of the Decrees and of the Preface of the printed Rule. 

PREFACE OF THE BOOK OF THE RULE AND OF THE CONSTITUTIONS 
OF THE DOMINICAN CONGREGATION OF THE 
MOST HOLY ROSARY 

The Rule of St. Augustine is taken from a letter written 
by the Saint to a Convent of Nuns under his jurisdiction. 
The epistle bears the number 211, and also 109, in the Edition 
of the Benedictines, Paris, 1688. • 

The Community of Sisters of the Third Order of St. 
Dominic, bearing the name of the Congregation of the Most 
Holy Rosary of the United States of America, from its founda- 
tion, in 1846, by Very Rev. S. C. Mazzuchelli, at that time 
Commissary Provincial of the Order of Preachers in these 



122 GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 

United States, has followed the Constitutions of the Third 
Order, compiled by him, with the approval of Most Rev. Father 
Thomas Ancarani, Master General of the Order, and, in 1859, 
of Most Rev. Father Alexander Vincent Jandel, Master Gen- 
eral of the Order. This compendium of the Constitutions, the 
text of which was supplemented and explained by full and 
most lucid commentaries, sufficed under the wise, holy, and 
paternal guidance of the venerable compiler for the needs of 
the community for many years after his death. Subsequently, 
the rapid growth of the community, the establishment of many 
and distant Branch Houses, yearly increasing in number, and 
located in widely separated dioceses, rendered necessary a more 
comprehensive set of regulations. In 1877, two Sisters, duly 
authorized by the council of the community, visited Rome, and, 
after an audience with the Holy Father, Pius IX., of blessed 
memory, assisted by the counsel and direction of Very Rev. 
Father Joseph Maria San Vito, Vicar General of the Order, 
proceeded to complete the design of compiling this book. 
The Master General of the Order, Most Rev. F. B. Joseph 
Maria Larroca, visiting our Mother House in 1881, was pleased 
to give the work his paternal blessing and approval, urging 
the utmost rapidity in its accomplishment consistent with care 
and prudence. 

In 1887 this body of Constitutions was submitted to His 
Paternity, who placed it in the hands of Very Rev. Father 
Marcolino Cicognani, Procurator General of the Order, who, 
throughout the whole compilation, has assisted and encouraged 
it with counsels, direction and most paternal and affectionate 
solicitude, and to whom this entire congregation owes a debt 
of gratitude which may never be forgotten. 

The Very Rev. Procurator General laid the work before 
the Sacred Congregation of the Propagation of the Faith early 
in the year 1888, and on the 29th day of July, of that same 
year, this congregation of the Most Holy Rosary, and these 
constitutions, with emendations and additions from the hand 
of the Very Rev. Procurator General, received the approba- 



GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 123 

tion of the Holy See, in the following decree, dated the 17th 
day of August. 

The letter of the Very Rev. Procurator General conveying 
this decree, contains these words of explanation : " This appro- 
bation for three years is a formality, because the Sacred Con- 
gregation is never accustomed to give definite approbation to 
Constitutions the first time." Therefore, in obedience to the 
Very Rev. Procurator General of the Order, these constitutions 
were ordered to be printed with the decree ad triennium, and 
with space provided for insertion of the Final Decree to be 
given at the end of that period. 

FIRST DECREE 

The Superioress General of the Dominican Sisters of the 
Third Order of Penance, of the Congregation of the Most 
Holy Rosary, in the United States of America, has before, 
with earnest prayers, petitioned the Sacred Congregation of 
the Propagation of the Faith for the approbation, whether of 
the institute or the constitutions. Moreover, since the afore- 
said congregation, being widely diffused, flourishes under the 
observance of the constitutions and its religious spirit, and 
hath produced abundant fruits through the inspiration of 
Divine grace, the Committee of Consultors, to whom is en- 
trusted the office of examining new congregations and consti- 
tutions, met on the twelfth day of July, 1888, for the discussion 
of its merits and its needs. His Eminence Camillo Mazzella, 
Cardinal Protector of the aforesaid congregation, presided. 
The affair having been maturely considered, and regard being 
had to the testimonial letters of many Bishops who had com- 
mended these Sisters to the Sacred Congregation of the Propa- 
gation of the Faith, it was resolved that the aforesaid institute 
should receive final approval, but that the constitutions should 
be approved for only three years, by way of trial ; certain cor- 
rections and modifications were inserted, and were noted in the 
adjoined copy. Moreover, in an audience of the twenty-ninth 
day of July, 1888, this decision of the committee, having been 



124 GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 

laid before our Most Holy Father, Leo XIIL, by Most Rev, 
Dominico Jacobini, Archbishop of Tyre and Secretary of the 
Sacred Congregation of the Propagation of the Faith, His 
Holiness approved it and commanded the present decree to be 
expedited to that effect. 

Given at Rome from the Sacred Congregation of Propa- 
ganda, on the seventeenth day of August, 1888. 

(Seal) Joannes Card. Simeoni, Prsefectus. 
Pro Secretary, 
Zephyrinus Zitelli, 
S. Off. 

FINAL DECREE 

In the year 1888 the Constitutions of the Dominican Sisters 
of the Third Order of Penance of the Congregation of the 
Most Holy Rosary, in the United States of North America, 
who had their first origin at Sinsinawa, in the Archdiocese of 
Milwaukee, were approved for three years, by way of trial, by 
this Sacred Council of the Propagation of the Faith. But 
since the aforesaid Sisters, whose distinguished labors, espe- 
cially in the education of youth, are commended by the testi- 
mony of many Bishops, had, shortly before, offered humble 
petitions for the final approval of their constitutions, the execu- 
tion of this office was entrusted to the committee appointed for 
it, which is presided over by the Most Eminent and Reverend 
Cardinal Camillo Mazzella. Therefore, since it seemed good 
to this committee that the said Rules and Constitutions should 
be definitely approved, with some modifications, however, noted 
upon the annexed sheet, this statement was laid before our 
Most Holy Father, Leo XIIL, by the undersigned Secretary 
of this Sacred Congregation, in an audience of the thirtieth day 
of April, and His Holiness ratified and confirmed it. 

Given at Rome from the Sacred Congregation of the Propa- 
gation of the Faith, on the fifth day of May, 1893. 

(Seal) M. Cardinal Ledochowski, Prsef. 
J. Aug., Abp. of Larissa, 
Pro Secretary. 



St. Dominic's Church 

A frame structure erected by Fr. Samuel in 1845. 
replaced by a brick edifice. 



It has been 




St. Catherine's Walk on the Novitiate Esplanade, i88c 



AFTERWORD. 

Much happens from dawn to sunset of an ordinary day — 
much that is of infinite importance. By what proportion, then, 
shall we find the value of the happenings of fifty years, with 
their many circling months and their myriads of days? 

Only in eternity can the problem be solved ; only the Creator 
can express the relation of the divine assistance to the creature's 
labor. To God be all the glory ! 

The life-pictures presented in the preceding chapters have 
been drawn with a few free lines, clear, perhaps somewhat 
sharp, like those of an etching. The reader has done the shad- 
ing, according to the spirit of his interpretation of the outlines. 
He gives his estimate of values when he shades, and much more 
when he colors. We have no cause to dread the stroke of 
pencil or brush in the hand of the reader who has let life's 
discipline ennoble him. 

Father Mazzuchelli's work, and still more his character, 
must make an eloquent appeal to every noble, priestly soul, to 
every honorable, manly heart; while his gracious personality 
must interest and influence every mind capable of appreciating 
its beauty and strength. 

The progress that has been made by St. Clara's Institute 
in fifty years differs but little, if at all, from that made by 
hundreds of other institutions in this land of rapid development 
and speedy growth. And yet, the celebration of its Golden 
Jubilee has, for its multitude of friends, a peculiar interest, for 
this Institute, venerable in its half century of existence, had 
its origin in the thought of one universally esteemed, in his 
time and place, by men of lofty mind. St. Clara's early years 
bore the stamp of his greatness ; hence the years that followed 
are interesting to those who have discernment of spirit. 

As we have seen, St. Clara's first efforts for good were 
made under the direction of a superior wisdom ; its first strug- 

125 



126 GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 

gles against evil were made under the bracing influence of a 
sanctified will; and its first advance towards high ideals were 
encouraged by the promptings of an eminently pure soul and 
noble heart. Its subsequent history could not but bear the 
sacred impress of these strong and holy beginnings. 

The remembrance of them has been unfailing in giving 
an impetus to the progress made in fifty years. The poet-priest 
of the South has tunefully assured us that — 

" The flowers of the future, tho' fragrant and fair, 
With the past's withered leaflets can never compare; 
For dear is each dead leaf — and dearer each thorn — 
In the wreaths which the brows of our past years have worn." 

" The flowers of the future " and " the past's withered leaf- 
lets " will sweetly mingle in the Jubilee garlands, with which 
the reverent hands of tried friends will soon bind St. Clara's 
brow. The fragrance of the one and the brown sacredness of 
the other will appeal to both heart and mind, for, on occasions 
so fraught with holy memories and ardent hopes, we feel 
intensely and think deeply. When our Jubilee Day dawns, 
thought and feeling will merge into the question, " What does 
it mean ? " " What does it commemorate, and what does it 
anticipate ? " Bowing our heads before God's altar, and unit- 
ing our hearts in prayer, while our Most Reverend Archbishop 
solemnly pontificates, we shall learn, in part, from the Silent 
Teacher in the Tabernacle, the answers to our queries. 

Even now, questions arise, with eager interest, in the hearts 
that are loyal to the memory of the past and true to the promise 
of the future. "What is the spirit, the significance, the force 
of such an occasion ? " 

What calls together so many distinguished men and 
women? The spirit of the past? The voice of the future? 
Even so ; and more than these, the spirit of all Christian ages, 
the voice of Religion! For St. Clara's Jubilee honor were a 
small thing indeed did it not beam forth, among myriads of 
others, as a ray from the Church's refulgent glory. Being a 
part of that infinitude of splendor, who can presume to measure 
its greatness. As for its intrinsic significance, only he may 




"And ever there against the brooding sky. 
The priestly pine-trees high 
With Hfted hands invoke on vale and crest 
Infinitudes of rest." 




Where Sleep the Holy Dead 

"Is not the mighty mind, that child of heaven: 
By death enlarg'd, ennobled, deified? 
Death but entombs the body; life the soul." 



GOLDEN BELLS IN CONVENT TOWERS 127 

define it who can tell us what fifty years of God-given time 
may comprise of human effort and divine assistance. 

Certain we are, that the finite mind cannot conceive, nor 
the human tongue express, what the Golden Jubilee of a reli- 
gious institute ought to mean to those who have come within 
the circle of its influence. 

And superlatively greater must be its meaning to those who 
have reared the institute, found shelter under its roof, planted 
seed in its mystic gardens and gathered fruit from its trees. 

The Jubilee years do not stand for mere human endeavor, 
even though graced with immortal powers and rewarded with 
eternal results. We celebrate them, rejoice in them, preserve 
the memory of them, because they stand, also, for things 
divine ; for things called into being by the voice of God ; for 
things done by the Master's wounded hand ; for things bearing 
the print of His wounded feet ; for things that have responded 
to the cry of His sacred Heart, and have been borne aloft by 
correspondence with His divine grace. 

And now — while golden bells ring from convent towers — 
a solemn procession of fruit-laden Yesterdays merges into the 
stately but most joyous procession of promise-laden To-mor- 
rows. Go we forth to meet them ! 



ERRATA. 



On page 103, read, regarding the bell, — She also re- 
ceived handsome contributions from the young men of 
St. Dominic's congregation at Sinsinawa. 

On page 117, include among the branch houses, St. 
John's Cathedral School for Boys, Milwaukee, Wis.; St. 
Mark's Parochial School, Peoria, 111.; St. Joseph's, New 
Hampton, Iowa; and the Sacred Heart School, Ojnaha, 
Nebraska. 



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